- Human testis-derived embryonic stem cell-like cells are not pluripotent, but possess potential of mesenchymal progenitors
- Human Reproduction
- Volume | Issue number
- 27 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
Faculty of Medicine (AMC-UvA)
- Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS)
Spontaneous in vitro transition of undifferentiated spermatogonia into the pluripotent cell state has been achieved using neonatal and adult mouse testis tissue. In an effort to establish an analogous source of human patient-specific pluripotent stem cells, several research groups have described the derivation of embryonic stem cell-like cells from primary cultures of human testis. These cells are characterized in all studies as growing in compact colonies, expressing pluripotency-associated markers and possessing multilineage differentiation capabilities in vitro, but only one study claimed their ability to induce teratomas. This controversy initiated a debate about the pluripotent state and origin of human testis-derived ES-like cells (htES-like cells).
htES-like cell colonies were obtained from primary testicular cultures of three individuals and selectively expanded using culture conditions known to support the propagation of blastocyst-derived human embryonic stem cells (ESCs), mouse epiblast stem cells and ‘naïve’ human ESCs. The stem cell properties of htES-like cells were subsequently assessed by testing the expression of ESC-specific markers, differentiation abilities in vitro and in vivo, and microarray profiling.
The expression of pluripotency-associated markers in htES-like cells and their differentiation abilities differed significantly from those of ESCs. Gene expression microarray analysis revealed that htES-like cells possess a transcriptome distinct from human ESCs and fibroblasts, but closely resembling the transcriptome of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). The similarity to MSCs was confirmed by detection of SSEA4/CD146 expressing cells within htES-like colonies and efficient in vitro differentiation toward three mesodermal lineages (adipogenic, osteogenic, chondrogenic).
Taken together, these results indicate that htES-like cells, in contrast to pluripotent stem cells derived from adult mouse testis, are not pluripotent and most likely not of germ cell but of mesenchymal origin.
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