Porcine intestinal organoids as a model to explore the function of the small intestinal epithelium

Scope of the method

The Method relates to
  • Animal health
The Method is situated in
  • Basic Research
  • Translational - Applied Research
Type of method
  • In vitro - Ex vivo
This method makes use of
  • Animal derived cells / tissues / organs
Species from which cells/tissues/organs are derived
Type of cells/tissues/organs
small intestine


Method keywords
  • gut organoids
  • epithelium
  • adult stem cells
  • 3D Cell culture
  • primary cell culture
Scientific area keywords
  • Host-pathogen interactions
  • epithelial cells
  • drug transport
  • gut health
  • gut barrier
Method description

Advances in cell culture methods allowed 3D culture of gut epithelial cells derived from adult intestinal epithelial stem cells in mice and humans. We show that starting from crypts cultured in an extracellular matrix hydrogel together with essential growth factors, gut organoids can be grown from all segments of the small intestine in swine. These gut organoids and better mimic the in vivo environment in response to bacterial toxines as compared to traditional cell lines. Small intestinal organoids will be instrumental to decipher epithelial cell responses to gut pathogens, to model drug transport and to evaluate effect of compounds on gut health in swine.

Lab equipment
  • - Incubator;
  • - Biosafety cabinet.
Method status
  • Still in development
  • Published in peer reviewed journal

Pros, cons & Future potential

  • - Primary cells;
  • - Better resembles in vivo intestine;
  • - 3D cultures;
  • - Versatile applications.
  • - Access to the apical membrane of the epithelial cells in 3D culture;
  • - Lack of other cell types, such as immune cells.

Co-cultures with other cells, like immune cells, might be explored.

References, associated documents and other information


Vermeire B., Gonzalez L.M., Jansens R.J.J., Cox E., Devriendt B., 2021. Porcine small intestinal organoids as a model to explore ETEC–host interactions in the gut. Veterinary Research 52:94. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13567-021-00961-7

Associated documents
2021h Vermeire B et al porcine small intestinal organoids and ETEC_Vet Res.pdf

Contact person

Bert Devriendt


Ghent University (UGent)
Department of Translational Physiology, Infectiology and Public Health
Laboratory of Immunology
Flemish Region