Scientists for first time grow miniature human oesophagus in lab

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Scientists for first time have successfully grown oesophageal organoids, a miniature, functional version of human food pipe using pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) in laboratory. This bioengineered oesophageal organoids paves way for new ways to study and test drugs against gut disorders. It may also lead to personalised diagnostic methods and focus in part on developing regenerative tissue therapies to treat or cure GI disorders.

Oesophagus :

  • It is a long muscular tube that is part of the digestive system that connects mouth to stomach to actively pass food. 
  • It is also called- gastro-intestinal tract (GI tract or gullet or food pipe).
  • It is around 25cm long in adults. 
  • After food is swallowed, the walls of oesophagus squeeze together (contract) and moves the food down to the stomach.
  • The area where oesophagus joins stomach is called gastro-oesophageal junction.

Four layers of Oesophagus :

Mucosa- Inner layer, which is moist to help food pass smoothly into stomach.
Submucosa- Contains glands that produce mucus (phlegm), which keeps oesophagus moist.
Muscularis- It is muscle layer, which pushes food down to stomach.
Adventitia- It is outer layer, which attaches oesophagus to nearby parts of body.

  • Oesophagus can be affected by congenital diseases, such as oesophageal atresia, a medical condition causing narrowing or malformation of oesophagus due to genetic mutations.
  • Other diseases related to it includes oesophageal cancer, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or rare ailment called achalasia, a disease affecting muscles of lower oesophagus that prevents contraction of organ and passage of food.

Stem cell :

It is an undifferentiated cell of amulticellular organism which is capable of giving rise to indefinitely more cells (through mitosis) of same type and from which, certain other kinds of cells may be formed by the cellular differentiation.