Mpox virus (MPXV) infections can lead to skin lesions in humans. Although endemic in parts of Africa, mpox outbreaks emerged across non-endemic regions globally in 2022. Mpox disease has so far only been studied in cultured cell lines and in animal models, both with clear limitations. Our work describes the first use of lab-grown 3D mini versions of human skin, called organoids, derived from pluripotent stem cells for the study of MPXV infection and potential drug treatments.
Our work establishes human skin organoids as an innovative, and physiologically relevant experimental model for studying MPXV infection in humans. They allow us to study interactions between the virus and our skin and test candidate therapeutics against it. This cutting-edge technology could be useful in the study of other infectious diseases that affect the skin and ultimately highlights the overall potential of stem cell-derived 3D models for disease modelling.
This work is a collaboration between the labs of Karine Raymond (reNEW Leiden node) from the Leiden University Medical Center and Q. Pan of the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam. The findings are included in an article that are expected to be published soon in a prestigious scientific journal.
In our image, the MPXV infection is taking hold. Infection by the monkeypox virus (yellow) is spreading across the human skin organoid of which we visualized the cell nuclei (red) and a specific marker for skin cells and developing hair follicles (cyan).
This artwork is credited to Spiros Pachis (postdoc) and Karine Raymond of the Raymond lab (LUMC) with special thanks to the rest of our lab members for their support and to the Pan lab at the Erasmus Medical Center for the excellent collaboration that led to this image. reNEW Leiden.