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Testes stem cell can change into other body tissues, Stanford/UCSF study shows
Date:1/5/2009

to differentiate into decidedly non-testicular neural cell precursors and they expressed the telomerase enzyme essential to keep pluripotent cells young and unspecialized. However, when the researchers examined the cells' patterns of methylation a modification to DNA that affects gene expression they found that the newly derived cell line was less-thoroughly methylated as compared to human embryonic stem cells in one region and more heavily methylated than human embryonic stem cells in another region.

Finally, when the researchers injected the human stem cells into mice with compromised immune systems, they showed only a limited ability to form a teratoma a kind of tumor formed of many cell types. Teratoma formation resulting from the aggressive proliferation and differentiation of transplanted stem cells is a hallmark of true pluripotency. Together, the results suggest that the stem cells isolated from male testes have some, but not all the characteristics of true pluripotent cells.

"It's not yet possible to completely re-create human embryonic stem cells from germline cells," said Reijo-Pera, "These cells differ in gene expression, methylation and in their ability to form teratomas. But it's the fact that they are different that makes them so interesting. Suggesting otherwise would do a disservice to the research community by overlooking the fact that these cells are a unique cell type that could be really useful in the study of human germ cell formation."


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Contact: Krista Conger
kristac@stanford.edu
650-725-5371
Stanford University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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