Published online Apr 28, 2019. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v25.i16.1913
Peer-review started: February 22, 2019
First decision: March 5, 2019
Revised: March 12, 2019
Accepted: March 16, 2019
Article in press: March 16, 2019
Published online: April 28, 2019
Understanding the occurrence, development, and treatment of liver diseases is the main goal of hepatopathology research. Liver diseases are not only diverse but also highly heterogeneous among individuals. At present, research on liver diseases is conducted mainly through cell culture, animal models, pathological specimens, etc. However, these methods cannot fully reveal the pathogenic mechanism and therapeutic characteristics of individualized liver diseases. Recent advances in three-dimensional cell culture technology (organoid culture techniques) include pluripotent stem cells and adult stem cells that are cultured in vitro to form self-organizing properties, making it possible to achieve individualized liver disease research. This review provides a comprehensive overview of the development of liver organoids, the existing and potential applications of liver regenerative medicine, the pathogenesis of liver disease heterogeneity, and drug screening.
Core tip: This article not only systematically elaborates on the origin and culture of organoids but also comprehensively summarizes the latest applications of organoids in liver diseases, especially benign liver diseases and malignant tumors. Furthermore, it discusses the advantages and disadvantages of the application of liver organoids in liver diseases, and shows that organoids have great potential for exploring the pathogenesis and treatment of liver diseases.