FISH: intestinal organoids from fish

In this project, the researchers aim to generate intestinal organoids from model species such as zebrafish and farmed species such as common carp and tilapia. The organoids will be used to in vitro test potential deleterious effects of dietary compounds, and the ability of mucosal vaccines or mucosal pathogens to penetrate intestinal barriers.

Besides the substantial fundamental knowledge that the researchers will gain by studying in detail the development and composition of intestinal organoids, this research will also contribute to reducing the number of fish that are otherwise used to research the above. Using intestinal organoids as a targeted pre-screening tool will help to select the most promising dietary components or mucosal vaccine to be later tested in vivo in live fish.

Progress (September 2022)

Since the start of the project, the researchers have been successful in generating intestinal organoids from common carp, and more recently from zebrafish. These can be kept in culture and passaged (divided) for up to 2 months. In the current conditions, they depend on the availability of human growth factors for organoid growth. Although fish and humans have much in common, the cross-reactivity of the human growth factors on fish cells is not always optimal. Therefore, in the second part of the project, the researchers have focused their efforts on the generation of fish-specific growth factors. The production of more than eight recombinant growth factors has taken more than eight months, but the researchers are now almost ready to start comparing organoid growth in the presence of human and/or fish growth factors.