Pluripotent stem cells have great clinical potential for tissue regeneration/repair in humans. The use of embryonic stem (ES) cells is ethically controversial, leading to searches for other sources of pluripotent stem cells. Testicular spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) produce the spermatogenic lineage. Under in vitro conditions, SSCs have the ability to give rise to pluripotent ES-like cells. We hypothesized that stem/progenitor spermatogonia could directly transdifferentiate into different tissue types if they were recombined with inductive mesenchymes from fetal/neonatal organs using a tissue separation/recombination methodology and grown in vivo. Green fluorescent protein transgenic mice were used to track cell lineages. Our results indicate that stem/progenitor spermatogonia recombined with the appropriate mesenchyme can directly transdifferentiate in vivo into tissues of all germ layers, including prostatic, uterine, and skin epithelium. In addition, transdifferentiated tissue expressed molecular, histological, and functional markers of the appropriate epithelium. The ability of stem/progenitor spermatogonia to directly generate various epithelia emphasizes their clinical potential, and if adult human SSCs have similar properties, this may have applications in human regenerative medicine.
- Stem/progenitor spermatogonia
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine
- Developmental Biology
- Cell Biology