Cell Types of the Human Retina and Its Organoids at Single-Cell Resolution

Cameron S. Cowan, Magdalena Renner, Martina De Gennaro, Brigitte Gross-Scherf, David Goldblum, Yanyan Hou, Martin Munz, Tiago M. Rodrigues, Jacek Krol, Tamas Szikra, Rachel Cuttat, Annick Waldt, Panagiotis Papasaikas, Roland Diggelmann, Claudia P. Patino-Alvarez, Patricia Galliker, Stefan E. Spirig, Dinko Pavlinic, Nadine Gerber-Hollbach, Sven SchuiererAldin Srdanovic, Marton Balogh, Riccardo Panero, Akos Kusnyerik, Arnold Szabo, Michael B. Stadler, Selim Orgül, Simone Picelli, Pascal W. Hasler, Andreas Hierlemann, Hendrik P.N. Scholl, Guglielmo Roma, Florian Nigsch, Botond Roska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

258 Scopus citations


Human organoids recapitulating the cell-type diversity and function of their target organ are valuable for basic and translational research. We developed light-sensitive human retinal organoids with multiple nuclear and synaptic layers and functional synapses. We sequenced the RNA of 285,441 single cells from these organoids at seven developmental time points and from the periphery, fovea, pigment epithelium and choroid of light-responsive adult human retinas, and performed histochemistry. Cell types in organoids matured in vitro to a stable “developed” state at a rate similar to human retina development in vivo. Transcriptomes of organoid cell types converged toward the transcriptomes of adult peripheral retinal cell types. Expression of disease-associated genes was cell-type-specific in adult retina, and cell-type specificity was retained in organoids. We implicate unexpected cell types in diseases such as macular degeneration. This resource identifies cellular targets for studying disease mechanisms in organoids and for targeted repair in human retinas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1623-1640.e34
Issue number6
StatePublished - 17 Sep 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • eye disease
  • human retina
  • macular degeneration
  • organoid
  • organoid development
  • retina
  • retinal organoid
  • single cell sequencing
  • synaptic function
  • transcriptome


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