Human spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) are able to “de-differentiate” into human embryonic stem cell-like pluripotent cells and give rise to all three embryonic germ layers, scientists announced on December 2.
Georgetown University School of Medicine researchers Martin Dym, Nady Golestaneh and colleagues at the Washington Regional Transplant Consortium (WRTC) obtained the human SSCs soon after the death of organ donors to the WRTC.
Germ cells including SSCs were separated using a two-step enzymatic digestion followed by differential plating.
When placed in human embryonic stem cell culture medium, the SSCs formed colonies that stained positive for human ES cell markers.
The ES cell-like colonies were then induced to differentiate and grow out.
The colonies showed the presence of markers for endodermal, mesodermal, and ectodermal lineages.
These results suggest that human SSCs have great potential for cell-based, autologous organ regeneration therapy for various diseases, according to the Georgetown researchers.
“Imagine a time when men could be cured of disease with a biopsy of their own testes,” said Dym.
Until this year, SSCs were considered classic adult stem cells residing in the seminiferous tubules in each testis and supported by somatic Sertoli cells that form their cell fate “niche.”
That meant SSCs were “unipotent,” able only to self-renew or to differentiate into cells that could become sperm cells.
Then earlier this year came reports that, at least in mice, SSCs from adult testes could be made pluripotent like embryonic stem cells.
Citation: “Pluripotency of Adult Human Spermatogonial Stem Cells” was presented on December 2 at the annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology.
Contact: Martin Dym, 202-687-1184, email@example.com
Contact: Nady Golestaneh, 202-687-4381, firstname.lastname@example.org