Unraveling the assembloid: Real-time monitoring of dopaminergic neurites in an inter-organoid pathway connecting midbrain and striatal regions

Authors: Alp Ozgun, David J. Lomboni, Amy Aylsworth, Allison Macdonald, William A. Staines, Marzia Martina, Michael G. Schlossmacher, Joseph S. Tauskela, John Woulfe, and Fabio Variola

Materials Today Bio, 5 February 2024

Scientists generate a novel in vitro Parkinson’s disease model and use Axion’s Maestro MEA system to investigate the functional properties of neural connections between midbrain and striatal organoids. 

Many in vitro Parkinson's disease (PD) models focus on dopaminergic neurodegeneration but fail to recapitulate downstream motor dysfunction. Assembloids made up of two or more organoids have emerged as an effective model for these pathways, but assessing functionality can be challenging. In this study, researchers use mouse induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to develop a novel engineered assembloid platform consisting of midbrain and striatal organoids on multielectrode array (MEA) plates in order to study and characterize neural connections between brain regions.   

To assess real-time assembloid function and response to the dopaminergic neurotoxin 6-OHDA in vitro, the scientists recorded real-time local field potentials (LFPs) from inter-organoid pathways using Axion’s noninvasive, label-free Maestro Pro MEA platform. Overall, the authors conclude that “the development of this novel in vitro model enabling real-time electrophysiological recordings within interconnected organoids represents a significant advancement in the field,” offering a more biologically relevant platform for disease modeling and therapeutic discovery.