Establishment, Maintenance, Differentiation, Genetic Manipulation, and Transplantation of Mouse and Human Lacrimal Gland Organoids

Marie Bannier-Hélaouët, Maarten H. Geurts, Jeroen Korving, Harry Begthel, Hans Clevers

Published: 1 February 2023


The lacrimal gland is an essential organ for ocular surface homeostasis. By producing the aqueous part of the tear film, it protects the eye from desiccation stress and external insults. Little is known about lacrimal gland (patho)physiology because of the lack of adequate in vitro models. Organoid technology has proven itself as a useful experimental platform for multiple organs. Here, we share a protocol to establish and maintain mouse and human lacrimal gland organoids starting from lacrimal gland biopsies. By modifying the culture conditions, we enhance lacrimal gland organoid functionality. Organoid functionality can be probed through a “crying” assay, which involves exposing the lacrimal gland organoids to selected neurotransmitters to trigger tear release in their lumen. We explain how to image and quantify this phenomenon. To investigate the role of genes of interest in lacrimal gland homeostasis, these can be genetically modified. We thoroughly describe how to genetically modify lacrimal gland organoids using base editors-from guide RNA design to organoid clone genotyping. Lastly, we show how to probe the regenerative potential of human lacrimal gland organoids by orthotopic implantation in the mouse. Together, this comprehensive toolset provides resources to use mouse and human lacrimal gland organoids to study lacrimal gland (patho)physiology.

Full Access Link: Journal of Visualized Experiments