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Liver organoids: from basic research to therapeutic applications
  1. Nicole Prior1,
  2. Patricia Inacio1,
  3. Meritxell Huch1,2
  1. 1 Wellcome Trust-Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  2. 2 Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Dr Meritxell Huch, Wellcome Trust-Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 1QN, UK; m.huch{at}


Organoid cultures have emerged as an alternative in vitro system to recapitulate tissues in a dish. While mouse models and cell lines have furthered our understanding of liver biology and associated diseases, they suffer in replicating key aspects of human liver tissue, in particular its complex architecture and metabolic functions. Liver organoids have now been established for multiple species from induced pluripotent stem cells, embryonic stem cells, hepatoblasts and adult tissue-derived cells. These represent a promising addition to our toolbox to gain a deeper understanding of this complex organ. In this perspective we will review the advances in the liver organoid field, its limitations and potential for biomedical applications.

  • liver
  • organoid
  • personalised medicine
  • disease modelling

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  • NP and PI contributed equally.

  • Contributors All authors wrote and read the manuscript.

  • Funding This work was partially funded by an H2020 LSMF4LIFE awarded to MH. MH is a Wellcome Trust Sir Henry Dale Fellow and is jointly funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Royal Society (104151/Z/14/Z). PI is funded by a project grant (NC/R001162/1) awarded by the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs). This work describes an alternative to in vivo experiments on liver biology and disease. The authors acknowledge core funding to the Gurdon Institute from the Wellcome Trust (092096) and CRUK (C6946/A14492).

  • Competing interests None declared.

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

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.