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Differentiation of human adipose derived stem cells into Leydig-like cells with molecular compounds.
ABSTRACT: Leydig cells (LCs) are the primary source of testosterone in the testis, and testosterone deficiency caused by LC functional degeneration can lead to male reproductive dysfunction. LC replacement transplantation is a very promising approach for this disease therapy. Here, we report that human adipose derived stem cells (ADSCs) can be differentiated into Leydig-like cells using a novel differentiation method based on molecular compounds. The isolated human ADSCs expressed positive CD29, CD44, CD59 and CD105, negative CD34, CD45 and HLA-DR using flow cytometry, and had the capacity of adipogenic and osteogenic differentiation. ADSCs derived Leydig-like cells (ADSC-LCs) acquired testosterone synthesis capabilities, and positively expressed LC lineage-specific markers LHCGR, STAR, SCARB1, SF-1, CYP11A1, CYP17A1, HSD3B1 and HSD17B3 as well as negatively expressed ADSC specific markers CD29, CD44, CD59 and CD105. When ADSC-LCs labelled with lipophilic red dye (PKH26) were injected into rat testes which were selectively eliminated endogenous LCs using ethylene dimethanesulfonate (EDS, 75 mg/kg), the transplanted ADSC-LCs could survive and function in the interstitium of testes, and accelerate the recovery of blood testosterone levels and testis weights. These results demonstrated that ADSCs could be differentiated into Leydig-like cells by few defined molecular compounds, which might lay the foundation for further clinical application of ADSC-LC transplantation therapy.
Project description:Leydig cells (LCs) play crucial roles in producing testosterone, which is critical in the regulation of male reproduction and development. Low levels of testosterone will lead to male hypogonadism. LC transplantation is a promising alternative therapy for male hypogonadism. However, the source of LCs limits this strategy for clinical applications. Thus far, others have reported that LCs can be derived from stem cells by gene transfection, but the safe and effective induction method has not yet been reported. Here, we report that Leydig-like cells can be derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) using a novel differentiation protocol based on molecular compounds. The iPSCs-derived Leydig-like cells (iPSC-LCs) acquired testosterone synthesis capabilities, had the similar gene expression profiles with LCs, and positively expressed Leydig cell lineage-specific protein markers LHCGR, STAR, SCARB1, SF-1, CYP11A1, HSD3B1, and HSD17B3 as well as negatively expressed iPSC-specific markers NANOG, OCT4, and SOX2. When iPSC-LCs labeled with lipophilic red dye (PKH26) were transplanted into rat testes that were selectively eliminated endogenous LCs using EDS (75 mg/kg), the transplanted iPSC-LCs could survive and function in the interstitium of testes, and accelerate the recovery of serum testosterone levels and testis weights. Collectively, these findings demonstrated that the iPSCs were able to be differentiated into Leydig-like cells by few defined molecular compounds, which may lay the safer groundwork for further clinical application of iPSC-LCs for hypogonadism.
Project description:Stem cell transplantation is a candidate method for the treatment of Leydig cell dysfunction-related diseases. However, there are still many problems that limit its clinical application. Here, we report the establishment of CXCR4-SF1 bifunctional adipose-derived stem cells (CXCR4-SF1-ADSCs) and their reparative effect on Leydig cell dysfunction. CD29+ CD44+ CD34- CD45- ADSCs were isolated from adipose tissue and purified by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS). Infection with lentiviruses carrying the CXCR4 and SF1 genes was applied to construct CXCR4-SF1-ADSCs. The CXCR4-SF1-ADSCs exhibited enhanced migration and had the ability to differentiate into Leydig-like cells in vitro. Furthermore, the bifunctional ADSCs were injected into BPA-mediated Leydig cell damage model mice via the tail vein. We found that the CXCR4-SF1-ADSCs were capable of homing to the injured testes, differentiating into Leydig-like cells and repairing the deficiency in reproductive function caused by Leydig cell dysfunction. Moreover, we investigated the mechanism underlying SF1-mediated differentiation and testosterone synthesis in Leydig cells, and the B-box and SPRY Domain Containing Protein (BSPRY) gene was proposed to be involved in this process. This study provides insight into the treatment of Leydig cell dysfunction-related diseases.
Project description:Previous studies have demonstrated that rodent stem Leydig cell (SLC) transplantation can partially restore testosterone production in Leydig cell (LC)-disrupted or senescent animal models, which provides a promising approach for the treatment of hypogonadism. Here, we isolated human SLCs prospectively and explored the potential therapeutic benefits of human SLC transplantation for hypogonadism treatment. In adult human testes, p75 neurotrophin receptor positive (p75+) cells expressed the known SLC marker nestin, but not the LC lineage marker hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase-3? (HSD3?). The p75+ cells which were sorted by flow cytometry from human adult testes could expand in vitro and exhibited clonogenic self-renewal capacity. The p75+ cells had multi-lineage differentiation potential into multiple mesodermal cell lineages and testosterone-producing LCs in vitro. After transplantation into the testes of ethane dimethane sulfonate (EDS)-treated LC-disrupted rat models, the p75+ cells differentiated into LCs in vivo and secreted testosterone in a physiological pattern. Moreover, p75+ cell transplantation accelerated the recovery of serum testosterone levels, spermatogenesis and reproductive organ weights. Taken together, we reported a method for the identification and isolation of human SLCs on the basis of p75 expression, and demonstrated that transplanted human p75+ SLCs could replace disrupted LCs for testosterone production. These findings provide the groundwork for further clinical application of human SLCs for hypogonadism.
Project description:Leydig cells (LCs) play crucial roles in producing testosterone, and their dysfunction leads to male hypogonadism. LC transplantation is a promising alternative therapy for male hypogonadism. However, the source of LCs limits this strategy for clinical applications. Here, we report our success in reprogramming mice fibroblasts into LCs by expressing three transcriptional factors, Dmrt1, Gata4, and Nr5a1. The induced Leydig-like cells (iLCs) expressed steroidogenic genes, had a global gene expression profile similar to that of adult LCs, and acquired androgen synthesis capabilities. When iLCs were transplanted into rats or mice testes that were selectively depleted of endogenous LCs, the transplanted cells could survive and function in the interstitium of testis, resulting in the restoration of normal levels of serum testosterone. These findings demonstrate that the fibroblasts were able to be directly converted into iLCs by few defined factors, which may facilitate future applications in regenerative medicine.
Project description:Exogenous androgen replacement is used to treat symptoms associated with low testosterone in males. However, adverse cardiovascular risk and negative fertility impacts impel development of alternative approaches to restore/maintain Leydig cell (LC) androgen production. Stem Leydig cell (SLC) transplantation shows promise in this regard however, practicality of SLC isolation/transplantation impede clinical translation. Multipotent human adipose-derived perivascular stem cells (hAd-PSCs) represent an attractive extragonadal stem cell source for regenerative therapies in the testis but their therapeutic potential in this context is unexplored. We asked whether hAd-PSCs could be converted into Leydig-like cells and determined their capacity to promote regeneration in LC-ablated rat testes. Exposure of hAd-PSCs to differentiation-inducing factors in vitro upregulated steroidogenic genes but did not fully induce LC differentiation. In vivo, no difference in LC-regeneration was noted between Sham and hAd-PSC-transplanted rats. Interestingly, Cyp17a1 expression increased in hAd-PSC-transplanted testes compared to intact vehicle controls and the luteinising hormone/testosterone ratio returned to Vehicle control levels which was not the case in EDS + Sham animals. Notably, hAd-PSCs were undetectable one-month after transplantation suggesting this effect is likely mediated via paracrine mechanisms during the initial stages of regeneration; either directly by interacting with regenerating LCs, or through indirect interactions with trophic macrophages.
Project description:The ability to identify and isolate lineage-specific stem cells from adult tissues could facilitate cell replacement therapy. Leydig cells (LCs) are the primary source of androgen in the mammalian testis, and the prospective identification of stem Leydig cells (SLCs) may offer new opportunities for treating testosterone deficiency. Here, in a transgenic mouse model expressing GFP driven by the Nestin (Nes) promoter, we observed Nes-GFP+ cells located in the testicular interstitial compartment where SLCs normally reside. We showed that these Nes-GFP+ cells expressed LIFR and PDGFR-?, but not LC lineage markers. We further observed that these cells were capable of clonogenic self-renewal and extensive proliferation in vitro and could differentiate into neural or mesenchymal cell lineages, as well as LCs, with the ability to produce testosterone, under defined conditions. Moreover, when transplanted into the testes of LC-disrupted or aging models, the Nes-GFP+ cells colonized the interstitium and partially increased testosterone production, and then accelerated meiotic and post-meiotic germ cell recovery. In addition, we further demonstrated that CD51 might be a putative cell surface marker for SLCs, similar with Nestin. Taken together, these results suggest that Nes-GFP+ cells from the testis have the characteristics of SLCs, and our study would shed new light on developing stem cell replacement therapy for testosterone deficiency.
Project description:Irradiation with 6 Gy produces a complete block of spermatogonial differentiation in LBNF1 rats that would be permanent without treatment. Subsequent suppression of gonadotropins and testosterone (T) restores differentiation to the spermatocyte stage; however, this process requires 6 weeks. We evaluated the role of Leydig cells (LCs) in maintenance of the block in spermatogonial differentiation after exposure to radiation by specifically eliminating functional LCs with ethane dimethane sulfonate (EDS). EDS (but not another alkylating agent), given at 10 weeks after irradiation, induced spermatogonial differentiation in 24% of seminiferous tubules 2 weeks later. However, differentiation became blocked again at 4 weeks as LCs recovered. When EDS was followed by treatment with GnRH antagonist and flutamide, sustained spermatogonial differentiation was induced in >70% of tubules within 2 weeks. When EDS was followed by GnRH antagonist plus exogenous T, which also inhibits LC recovery but restores follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) levels, the spermatogonial differentiation was again rapid but transient. These results confirm that the factors that block spermatogonial differentiation are indirectly regulated by T, and probably FSH, and that adult and possibly immature LCs contribute to the production of such inhibitory factors. We tested whether insulin-like 3 (INSL3), a LC-produced protein whose expression correlated with the block in spermatogonial differentiation, was indeed responsible for the block by injecting synthetic INSL3 into the testes and knocking down its expression in vivo with siRNA. Neither treatment had any effect on spermatogonial differentiation. The Leydig cell products that contribute to the inhibition of spermatogonial differentiation in irradiated rats remain to be elucidated.
Project description:Introduction:Stem cell therapies for neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease (PD) are intended to replace lost dopaminergic neurons. The basis of this treatment is to guide the migration of transplanted cells into the target tissue or injury site. The aim of this study is an evaluation of the homing of superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) labeled adipose-derived stem cells (ADSC) by an external magnetic field in a rat model of PD. Methods:ADSCs were obtained from perinephric regions of male adult rats and cultured in a DMEM medium. ADSC markers were assessed by immunostaining with CD90, CD105, CD49d, and CD45. The SPION was coated using poly-L-lysine hydrobromide and transfection was determined in rat ADSC using the GFP reporter gene. For this in vivo study, rats with PD were divided into five groups: a positive control group, a control group with PD (lesion with 6-HD injection), and three treatment groups: the PD/ADSC group (PD transplant with ADSCs transfected by BrdU), PD/ADSC/SPION group (PD transplant with ADSCs labeled with SPION and transfected by GFP), and the PD/ADSC/SPION/EM group (PD transplant with ADSCs labeled with SPION and transfected by GFP induced with external magnet). Results:ADSCs were immunoreactive to fat markers CD90 (90.73±1.7), CD105 (87.4±2.9) and CD49d (79.6±2.6), with negative immunostaining at the hematopoietic stem cell marker (CD45: 1.4±0.4). The efficiency of cells with SPION/PLL was about 96% of ADSC. The highest number of GFP-positive cells was in the ADSC/SPION/EM group (54.5±1.3), which was significantly different from that in ADSC/SPION group (30.83±3 and P<0.01). Conclusion:Transfection of ADSC by SPION/PLL is an appropriate protocol for cell therapy. External magnets can be used for the delivery and homing of transplanted stem cells in the target tissue.
Project description:Testicular Leydig cells (LCs) are the primary source of circulating androgen in men. As men age, circulating androgen levels decline. However, whether reduced LC steroidogenesis results from specific effects of aging within LCs or reflects degenerative alterations to the wider supporting microenvironment is unclear; inability to separate intrinsic LC aging from that of the testicular microenvironment in vivo has made this question difficult to address. To resolve this, we generated novel mouse models of premature aging, driven by CDGSH iron sulfur domain 2 ( Cisd2) deletion, to separate the effects of cell intrinsic aging from extrinsic effects of aging on LC function. At 6 mo of age, constitutive Cisd2-deficient mice display signs of premature aging, including testicular atrophy, reduced LC and Sertoli cell (SC) number, decreased circulating testosterone, increased luteinizing hormone/testosterone ratio, and decreased expression of steroidogenic mRNAs, appropriately modeling primary testicular dysfunction observed in aging men. However, mice with Cisd2 deletion (and thus premature aging) restricted to either LCs or SCs were protected against testicular degeneration, demonstrating that age-related LCs dysfunction cannot be explained by intrinsic aging within either the LC or SC lineages alone. We conclude that age-related LC dysfunction is largely driven by aging of the supporting testicular microenvironment.-Curley, M., Milne, L., Smith, S., Jørgensen, A., Frederiksen, H., Hadoke, P., Potter, P., Smith, L. B. A Young testicular microenvironment protects Leydig cells against age-related dysfunction in a mouse model of premature aging.
Project description:STUDY QUESTION:Is endosialin a specific marker of human stem Leydig cells (SLCs) with the ability to differentiate into testosterone-producing Leydig cells (LCs) in vitro and in vivo? SUMMARY ANSWER:Endosialin is a specific marker of human SLCs which differentiate into testosterone-producing LCs in vitro and in vivo. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY:Human SLCs have been identified and isolated using the marker platelet-derived growth factor receptor ? (PDGFR?) or nerve growth factor receptor (NGFR). However, the specificity was not high; thus, LCs and germ cells could be mistakenly sorted as SLCs if PDGFR? or NGFR was used as a marker for human SLCs isolation. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION:Firstly, we re-evaluated the specificity of PDGFR? and NGFR for SLCs in adult human testes. Then we analysed the previously published single-cell sequencing data and found that endosialin may identify human SLCs. Subsequently, we sorted endosialin+ cells from four human donors and characterized their self-renewal and multipotent properties. To assess whether endosialin+ cells have the potential to differentiate into functional LCs in vitro, these cells were stimulated by differentiation-inducing medium. We next assessed the in vivo regenerative potential of human endosialin+ cells after xenotransplantation into the testes of immunodeficient mice. PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS:Single-cell sequencing analysis, immunofluorescence and flow cytometry were used to characterize human testis tissues. In vitro colony formation, multipotent differentiation (adipogenic, osteogenic and chondrogenic) and Leydig cell-lineage induction were used to assess stem cell activity. Xenotransplantation into 3-week-old immunodeficient mice was used to determine in vivo regenerative potential. Endpoint measures included testosterone measurements, cell proliferation, immunofluorescence, flow cytometry and quantitative RT-PCR. MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE:The results indicate that endosialin is a specific marker of SLCs compared with PDGFR? and NGFR. Additionally, endosialin+ cells isolated from human testes show extensive proliferation and differentiation potential in vitro: their self-renewal ability was inferred by the formation of spherical clones derived from a single cell. Moreover, these cells could differentiate into functional LCs that secreted testosterone in response to LH in a concentration-dependent manner in vitro. These self-renewal and differentiation properties reinforce the proposal that human testicular endosialin+ cells are SLCs. Furthermore, transplanted human endosialin+ cells appear to colonize the murine host testes, localize to peritubular and perivascular regions, proliferate measurably and differentiate partially into testosterone-producing LCs in vivo. LARGE SCALE DATA:NA. LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION:Owing to the difficulty in collecting human testis tissue, the sample size was limited. The functions of endosialin on SLCs need to be elucidated in future studies. WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS:A discriminatory marker, endosialin, for human SLCs purification is a prerequisite to advance research in SLCs and logically promote further clinical translation of SLCs-based therapies for male hypogonadism. STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S):A.P.X. was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2017YFA0103802 and 2018YFA0107200). C.D. was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81971314) and the Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province, China (2018B030311039). The authors declare no conflict of interest.