Claire Simonneau 1 , Martina Duschmalé 1 , Alina Gavrilov 1 , Nathalie Brandenberg 2 , Sylke Hoehnel 2 , Camilla Ceroni 2 , Evodie Lassalle 1 , Elena Kassianidou 1 , Hendrik Knoetgen 3 , Jens Niewoehner 3 , Roberto Villaseñor 1 ,
20 September 2021
The pathways that control protein transport across the blood–brain barrier (BBB) remain poorly characterized. Despite great advances in recapitulating the human BBB in vitro, current models are not suitable for systematic analysis of the molecular mechanisms of antibody transport. The gaps in our mechanistic understanding of antibody transcytosis hinder new therapeutic delivery strategy development.
We applied a novel bioengineering approach to generate human BBB organoids by the self-assembly of astrocytes, pericytes and brain endothelial cells with unprecedented throughput and reproducibility using micro patterned hydrogels. We designed a semi-automated and scalable imaging assay to measure receptor-mediated transcytosis of antibodies. Finally, we developed a workflow to use CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing in BBB organoid arrays to knock out regulators of endocytosis specifically in brain endothelial cells in order to dissect the molecular mechanisms of receptor-mediated transcytosis.
BBB organoid arrays allowed the simultaneous growth of more than 3000 homogenous organoids per individual experiment in a highly reproducible manner. BBB organoid arrays showed low permeability to macromolecules and prevented transport of human non-targeting antibodies. In contrast, a monovalent antibody targeting the human transferrin receptor underwent dose- and time-dependent transcytosis in organoids. Using CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing in BBB organoid arrays, we showed that clathrin, but not caveolin, is required for transferrin receptor-dependent transcytosis.
Human BBB organoid arrays are a robust high-throughput platform that can be used to discover new mechanisms of receptor-mediated antibody transcytosis. The implementation of this platform during early stages of drug discovery can accelerate the development of new brain delivery technologies.