Developmental biology

Mini Fallopian tubes in a dish

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Human Fallopian tubes contain adult stem cells that, when grown in the lab, can form miniature 3D structures resembling Fallopian tubes (pictured).

Nature Commun.

Thomas Meyer at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin and his colleagues isolated cells from human Fallopian-tube samples and grew them in 3D cultures. Two weeks later, they saw mature 'organoids' that had folds in the tissue, hair-like structures called cilia, and secretory cells — all characteristics of the Fallopian tube. The organoids were stable for more than 16 months and sensitive to the hormones oestradiol and progesterone.

The organoids could be used to study tube pathology and certain types of ovarian cancer that are thought to originate in the Fallopian tubes, the authors say.

Nature Commun. (2015)

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