Development of gastrointestinal organoids has progressed rapidly, but there remain few adequate models of the fundus epithelium of the human stomach. McCracken and colleagues have developed a protocol for differentiating human pluripotent stem cells into gastric organoids containing fundus epithelium, so-called human fundic-type gastric organoids (hFGOs). They found that the Wnt–β-catenin signalling pathway is important for the specification of the gastric fundus during stomach development, using Wnt modulation as the basis for their hFGO protocol. With these hFGOs, the researchers could model human stomach development and physiology, providing insights into the molecular basis of gastric development, including signalling pathways important to the differentiation of fundic cell types, such as chief cells and parietal cells.
McCracken, K. W. et al. Wnt/β-catenin promotes gastric fundus specification in mice and humans. Nature http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature21021 (2017)
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Ray, K. Modelling human stomach development with gastric organoids. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol 14, 68 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/nrgastro.2017.4