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Stem cells derived from adult testes produce wide range of tissue types
Date:9/19/2007

ablished a highly sophisticated culture system in which the progenitor cells rapidly grow and divide, creating a large population of cells that can be converted into MASCs.

It appears that these specialized GPR125-positive spermatogonial cells could be an easily obtained and manipulated source of stem cells with a similar capability to form new tissues that we see in embryonic stem cells, said Rafii. For male patients, he believes, It could someday mean a readily available source of stem cells that gets around ethical issues linked to embryonic stem cells. It also avoids issues linked to tissue transplant rejection, since these autologous cells come from the patients own body.

Rafiis team is currently pursuing a similar study of human testes to determine whether stem cells derived from their spermatogonial progenitor cells share the pluripotency of the mouse MASCs. We believe this to be an easily obtainable goal in the near future, he said.

If they succeed, several steps remain before such stem cells could be applicable to humans. We still have to learn the exact biochemical and epigenetic switch that tells GPR125-positive SPCs to convert into MASCs, said Marco Seandel, a senior post-doctoral fellow in Rafiis laboratory who is the first author of the Nature paper. Discovering that switch will be crucial to our being able to create MASCs on demand,

There is a chance that implanted cells derived from MASCs may trigger cancer in the recipient. This is an area that requires further investigation, Rafii said. However, he noted, So far, we havent seen any cancer or evidence of pro-cancerous activity in adult mice that are implanted with differentiated MASC cell tissue derivatives.

Rafii and his team have worked out the growing conditions that coax spermatogonial progenitor cells to develop into MASC germ lines-- genetically stable stem cells that continue reproducing indefinitely. Stem cell studies have been limited to date by the scarcity of germ
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Contact: Jim Keeley
keeleyj@hhmi.org
301-215-8858
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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