Reproduction, Fertility and Development Reproduction, Fertility and Development Society
Vertebrate reproductive science and technology

Spermatogonial stem cells: unlimited potential

M. Dym A B , Z. He A , J. Jiang A , D. Pant A and M. Kokkinaki A

A Georgetown University Medical Center, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular and Cellular Biology, 3900 Reservoir Road, NW, Washington, DC 20057, USA.

B Corresponding author. Email:

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 21(1) 15-21
Published: 9 December 2008


Recent reports have demonstrated that adult cells can be reprogrammed to pluripotency, but mostly with genes delivered using retroviruses. Some of the genes are cancer causing; thus, these adult-derived embryonic stem (ES)-like cells cannot be used for therapy to cure human diseases. Remarkably, it has also been demonstrated recently by several groups that, in mice, spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) can be reprogrammed to ES-like cells without the necessity of exogenously added genes. SSCs constitute one of the most important stem cell systems in the body, not only because they produce spermatozoa that transmit genetic information from generation to generation, but also because of the recent studies showing their remarkable plasticity. Very little is known about SSCs in humans, except for the earlier work of Clermont and colleagues who demonstrated that there are Adark and Apale spermatogonia, with the Adark referred to as the reserve stem cells and the Apale being the renewing stem cells. We now demonstrate that G protein-coupled receptor 125 (GPR125) may be a marker for human SSCs. Putative human SSCs can also be reprogrammed to pluripotency. We were able to achieve this result without the addition of genes, suggesting that human SSCs have considerable potential for cell-based, autologous organ regeneration therapy for various diseases.

Additional keywords: differentiation, embryonic stem cells, GFRA1, GPR125, pluripotency, renewal.


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