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Epithelial organoid cultures from patients with ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease: a truly long-term model to study the molecular basis for inflammatory bowel disease?
  1. Manuel Noben1,2,
  2. Bram Verstockt1,
  3. Magali de Bruyn1,3,
  4. Nikolai Hendriks1,2,
  5. Gert Van Assche1,4,
  6. Séverine Vermeire1,4,
  7. Catherine Verfaillie2,
  8. Marc Ferrante1,4
  1. 1Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Translational Research Center for Gastrointestinal Disorders (TARGID), KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  2. 2Department of Development and Regeneration, Stem Cell Institute Leuven, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  3. 3Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Rega Institute for Medical Research, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  4. 4Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University Hospitals Leuven, KU Leuven, Belgium
  1. Correspondence to Dr Marc Ferrante, Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University Hospitals Leuven, KU Leuven, Herestraat 49, Leuven 3000, Belgium; marc.ferrante{at}

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With great interest we read the paper by Dotti et al,1 who identified a set of differentially expressed genes in epithelial organoid cultures (EpOCs) derived from patients with UC compared with EpOCs from healthy controls.

Similarly, we created an EpOC library from patients with UC (n=17), Crohn's disease (CD, n=12) and healthy controls (n=10). First, we assessed the potential of isolated intestinal crypts to grow into organoids (colony forming units). We observed that a similar percentage of organoids was formed from intestinal crypts isolated from controls and patients with UC or CD. Moreover, intestinal crypts isolated from macroscopically inflamed and non-inflamed tissue had similar potential to form organoids (figure 1A). Although we used a slightly divergent differentiation medium,2 the expansion and differentiation capacity of our organoids was similar as demonstrated by Dotti et al.

Figure 1

(A) Colony forming units (CFUs) determined by quantification of the number of seeded crypts at the day of isolation and organoid formation after 7 days. CFUs are expressed as a percentage of organoids representative to the original number of seeded crypts. (B) Relative mRNA expression levels of leucine-rich repeat-containing G-protein coupled receptor 5 (LGR5), mucin2 (MUC2) and protein atonal homologue 1 (ATOH1). mRNA levels were …

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  • Contributors MN: conception and design of the work, acquisition, analysis and interpretation of data, manuscript writing. BV: data analysis, manuscript writing. MdB: conception and design of the work and manuscript writing. GVA: acquisition, manuscript approval. SV: acquisition, manuscript writing, manuscript approval. CV: analysis and interpretation of data, manuscript approval. MF: conception and design of the work, acquisition, analysis and interpretation of data, manuscript writing and final approval.

  • Funding This study was partially funded by a CREA research grant of the KU Leuven (CREA/12/031), and a research grant by the European Crohn's and Colitis Organization (ZKC4621/10143459). MN and BV are doctoral fellows, and GVA, SV and MF are senior clinical investigators of the Research Foundation—Flanders (FWO).

  • Competing interests SV: Grant support: AbbVie, MSD and Takeda; Speaker fees: AbbVie, MSD, Takeda, Ferring, Dr Falk Pharma, Hospira, Pfizer and Tillots; Consultancy: AbbVie, MSD, Takeda, Ferring, Genentech/Roche, Shire, Pfizer, Galapagos, Mundipharma, Hospira, Celgene, Second Genome and Janssen. GVA: Financial support for research: Abbvie, MSD; Lecture fees: Abbvie, Ferring, MSD, Janssen, Takeda; Consultancy: Abbvie, MSD, Takeda. MF: Research grant: Takeda; Speakers fee: Abbvie, Boehringer-Ingelheim, Chiesi, Falk, Ferring, Janssen, Mitsubishi Tanabe, MSD, Takeda, Tillotts, Zeria; Consultancy: Abbvie, Boehringer-Ingelheim, Ferring, Janssen, MSD.

  • Ethics approval The study was approved of by the ethics committee of the University Hospitals Leuven, Belgium (ML7771).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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