Nature. 2022 Apr 20. doi: 10.1038/s41586-022-04613-4. Online ahead of print.


Lacrimal glands are the main exocrine glands of the eyes. Situated within the orbit, behind the upper eyelid and towards the temporal side of each eye, they secrete lacrimal fluid as a major component of the tear film. Here we identify cells with characteristics of lacrimal gland primordia that emerge in two-dimensional eye-like organoids cultured from human pluripotent stem cells1. When isolated by cell sorting and grown under defined conditions, the cells form a three-dimensional lacrimal-gland-like tissue organoid with ducts and acini, enabled by budding and branching. Clonal colony analyses indicate that the organoids originate from multipotent ocular surface epithelial stem cells. The organoids exhibit notable similarities to native lacrimal glands on the basis of their morphology, immunolabelling characteristics and gene expression patterns, and undergo functional maturation when transplanted adjacent to the eyes of recipient rats, developing lumina and producing tear-film proteins.

PMID:35444274 | DOI:10.1038/s41586-022-04613-4