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Opportunities for organoids as new models of aging.

  • Author(s): Hu, Jennifer L
  • Todhunter, Michael E
  • LaBarge, Mark A
  • Gartner, Zev J
  • et al.
Abstract

The biology of aging is challenging to study, particularly in humans. As a result, model organisms are used to approximate the physiological context of aging in humans. However, the best model organisms remain expensive and time-consuming to use. More importantly, they may not reflect directly on the process of aging in people. Human cell culture provides an alternative, but many functional signs of aging occur at the level of tissues rather than cells and are therefore not readily apparent in traditional cell culture models. Organoids have the potential to effectively balance between the strengths and weaknesses of traditional models of aging. They have sufficient complexity to capture relevant signs of aging at the molecular, cellular, and tissue levels, while presenting an experimentally tractable alternative to animal studies. Organoid systems have been developed to model many human tissues and diseases. Here we provide a perspective on the potential for organoids to serve as models for aging and describe how current organoid techniques could be applied to aging research.

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