A Testis-Derived Hydrogel as an Efficient Feeder-Free Culture Platform to Promote Mouse Spermatogonial Stem Cell Proliferation and Differentiation.
ABSTRACT: Fertility preservation and assisted reproductive medicine require effective culture systems for the successful proliferation and differentiation of spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs). Many SSC culture systems require the addition of feeder cells at each subculture, which is tedious and inefficient. Here, we prepared decellularized testicular matrix (DTM) from testicular tissue, which preserved essential structural proteins of testis. The DTM was then solubilized and induced to form a porous hydrogel scaffold with randomly oriented fibrillar structures that exhibited good cytocompatibility. The viability of SSCs inoculated onto DTM hydrogel scaffolds was significantly higher than those inoculated on Matrigel or laminin, and intracellular gene expression and DNA imprinting patterns were similar to that of native SSCs. Additionally, DTM promoted SSC differentiation into round spermatids. More importantly, the DTM hydrogel supported SSC proliferation and differentiation without requiring additional somatic cells. The DTM hydrogel scaffold culture system provided an alternative and simple method for culturing SSCs that eliminates potential variability and contamination caused by feeder cells. It might be a valuable tool for reproductive medicine.
Project description:PURPOSE: To develop an efficient protocol for isolation, purification and long-term culture of spermatogonial stem cell (SSC) in goat. METHODS: The isolation of SSC was performed by testicular disaggregation by enzymatic digestion using collagenase IV, trypsin and DNase I. Further SSCs were enriched using Percoll density gradient centrifugation. The purity of SSCs was assessed by immunocytochemistry (ICC) using α6 integrin. The SSCs were co-cultured on Sertoli cell feeder layer. The SSC colonies were characterized by studying the expression of SSC specific markers (viz., α6 integrin and PLZF) using ICC. The abundance of mRNAs encoding the markers of SSC (viz., β1 integrin and Oct-4) and Sertoli cells (viz., vimentin) was also assayed using quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR). RESULTS: The viability of isolated testicular cells was > 90 % and the Percoll density gradient method resulted in 3.65 folds enrichment with a purity of 82.5 %. Co-culturing of SSCs with Sertoli cell feeder layer allowed the maintenance of stable SSC colonies even after one and half months of culture. The results of ICC analysis showed the expression of α6 integrin and PLZF in almost all the SSC colonies. qPCR analysis revealed a differential expression of mRNAs encoding β1 integrin, Oct-4 and vimentin markers. CONCLUSION: Results of this study demonstrate a simple enzymatic digestion and Percoll density gradient method for isolation and enrichment of SSCs, and suitability of Sertoli cell feeder layer for long term in vitro culture of SSC in goats. Results also suggest the possible application of non-caprine antibodies against SSC specific markers for the identification and subsequent assessment of SSCs in goats.
Project description:Spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) function to regulate the balance of self-renewal and differentiation of male gametes. SSCs have been successfully isolated and cultured in vitro in several species, but not in feline. Therefore, in this study, we aimed to culture and characterize feline SSCs. In experiment 1, testes (n=5) from different pubertal domestic cats were cryosectioned and fluorescently immunolabeled to examine the expression of SSC (GFR?-1), differentiated spermatogonium (c-kit) and germ cell (DDX-4) markers. In experiments 2 and 3, testicular cells were digested and subsequently cultured in vitro. The resultant presumptive SSC colonies were then collected for SSC identification (experiment 2), or further cultured in vitro on feeder cells (experiment 3). Morphology, gene expression and immunofluorescence were used to identify the SSCs. Experiment 1 demonstrated that varying types of spermatogenic cells existed and expressed different germ cell/SSC markers. A rare population of putative SSCs located at the basement membrane of the seminiferous tubules was specifically identified by co-expression of GFR?-1 and DDX-4. Following enzymatic digestion, grape-like colonies formed by 13-15 days of culture. These colonies expressed GFRA1 and ZBTB16, but did not express KIT. Although we successfully isolated and cultured feline SSCs in vitro, the SSCs could only be maintained for 57 days. In conclusion, this study demonstrates, for the first time, that putative SSCs from testes of pubertal domestic cats can be isolated and cultured in vitro. These cells exhibited SSC morphology and expressed SSC-specific genes. However, long-term culture of these putative SSCs was compromised.
Project description:Spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) derived from mouse testis are unipotent in regard of spermatogenesis. Our previous study demonstrated that SSCs can be fully reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells, so called germline-derived pluripotent stem cells (gPS cells), on feeder cells (mouse embryonic fibroblasts), which supports SSC proliferation and induction of pluripotency. Because of an uncontrollable microenvironment caused by interactions with feeder cells, feeder-based SSC reprogramming is not suitable for elucidation of the self-reprogramming mechanism by which SSCs are converted into pluripotent stem cells. Recently, we have established a Matrigel-based SSC expansion culture system that allows long-term SSC proliferation without mouse embryonic fibroblast support. In this study, we developed a new feeder-free SSC self-reprogramming protocol based on the Matrigel-based culture system. The gPS cells generated using a feeder-free reprogramming system showed pluripotency at the molecular and cellular levels. The differentiation potential of gPS cells was confirmed in vitro and in vivo. Our study shows for the first time that the induction of SSC pluripotency can be achieved without feeder cells. The newly developed feeder-free self-reprogramming system could be a useful tool to reveal the mechanism by which unipotent cells are self-reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells.
Project description:Spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) are unipotent adult stem cells, capable of differentiating into sperm cells. SSCs can be cultured in vitro for a long time. SSCs expressing Oct4, a pluripotency marker, and are the only adult cells which pluripotency can be induced under defined culture conditions. However, because 2D culture imposes limitations in cell junction formation, cell shape, metabolism, response to stimuli, and cell interface with medium, mechanistic studies on reprogramming of SSCs using feeder cells still have many challenges. Recent studies have shown that a culture system using a bio-matrix can be used in long-term feeder-free SSCs culture and for induction of pluripotency in SSCs. However, the bio-matrix cannot be the optimal micro-environment in mechanistic studies because it creates a physical barrier to growth factors and other signaling molecules. To overcome this effect of the matrix, we reprogrammed SSCs into pluripotent ESC-like cells, so-called germline-derived pluripotent stem cells (gPSCs) by using a 3D scaffold, in which cells are less responsive to external stimuli than in 2D cultures. Thus, we confirm the possibility of SSC reprogramming in the spheroidal state and suggest the utility of 3D scaffolds as a tool for studying the mechanism of SSC reprogramming into gPSCs without a bio-matrix.
Project description:Spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs, also called germline stem cells) are self-renewing unipotent stem cells that produce differentiating germ cells in the testis. SSCs can be isolated from the testis and cultured in vitro for long-term periods in the presence of feeder cells (often mouse embryonic fibroblasts). However, the maintenance of SSC feeder culture systems is tedious because preparation of feeder cells is needed at each subculture. In this study, we developed a Matrigel-based feeder-free culture system for long-term propagation of SSCs. Although several in vitro SSC culture systems without feeder cells have been previously described, our Matrigel-based feeder-free culture system is time- and cost- effective, and preserves self-renewability of SSCs. In addition, the growth rate of SSCs cultured using our newly developed system is equivalent to that in feeder cultures. We confirmed that the feeder-free cultured SSCs expressed germ cell markers both at the mRNA and protein levels. Furthermore, the functionality of feeder-free cultured SSCs was confirmed by their transplantation into germ cell-depleted mice. These results suggest that our newly developed feeder-free culture system provides a simple approach to maintaining SSCs in vitro and studying the basic biology of SSCs, including determination of their fate.
Project description:Maintenance of adult tissues depends on stem cell self-renewal in local niches. Spermatogonial stem cells (SSC) are germline adult stem cells necessary for spermatogenesis and fertility. We show that testicular endothelial cells (TECs) are part of the SSC niche producing glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) and other factors to support human and mouse SSCs in long-term culture. We demonstrate that FGF-2 binding to FGFR1 on TECs activates the calcineurin pathway to produce GDNF. Comparison of the TEC secretome to lung and liver endothelial cells identified 5 factors sufficient for long-term maintenance of human and mouse SSC colonies in feeder-free cultures. Male cancer survivors after chemotherapy are often infertile since SSCs are highly susceptible to cytotoxic injury. Transplantation of TECs alone restores spermatogenesis in mice after chemotherapy-induced depletion of SSCs. Identifying TECs as a niche population necessary for SSC self-renewal may facilitate fertility preservation for prepubertal boys diagnosed with cancer.
Project description:Spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) divide continuously to support spermatogenesis throughout postnatal life and transmit genetic information to the next generation. Here, we report the successful establishment of the method for the isolation and identification of human SSCs from testicular tissue, and to determine the culture conditions required to expand SSCs on human embryonic stem cell-derived fibroblast-like cells (hdFs). Large-scale cultures of SSCs were maintained on hdF feeder layers and expanded in the presence of a combination of cytokines and glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor for at least 2 months. Cell surface marker analysis showed that SSCs retained high levels of alkaline phosphatase activity and stained strongly for anti-stage-specific embryonic antigen (SSEA)-1, OCT4 and CD49f. They also expressed the genes OCT4, SOX3 and STRA8 as detected by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis. These data clearly illustrate a novel approach for the growth of human SSCs using hdFs as feeder cells, potentially eliminating xenogeneic contaminants. This system provides a new opportunity for the study of the regulatory mechanism of the 'niche' that governs SSC self-renewal, and will be a valuable source of SSCs for potential clinical applications.
Project description:While it is known that spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) initiate the production of male germ cells, the mechanisms of SSC self-renewal, proliferation, and differentiation remain poorly understood. We have previously identified Strawberry Notch 1 (SBNO1), a vertebrate strawberry notch family protein, in the proteome profile for mouse SSC maturation and differentiation, revealing SBNO1 is associated with neonatal testicular development. To explore further the location and function of SBNO1 in the testes, we performed Sbno1 gene knockdown in mice to study the effects of SBNO1 on neonatal testicular and SSC development. Our results revealed that SBNO1 is required for neonatal testicular and SSC development in mice. Particularly, in vitro Sbno1 gene knockdown with morpholino oligonucleotides caused a reduction of SSCs and inactivation of the noncanonical Wnt pathway, through Jun N-terminal kinases. Our study suggests SBNO1 maintains SSCs by promoting the noncanonical Wnt pathway.
Project description:Tree shrews have a close relationship to primates and have many advantages over rodents in biomedical research. However, the lack of gene manipulation methods has hindered the wider use of this animal. Spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) have been successfully expanded in culture to permit sophisticated gene editing in the mouse and rat. Here, we describe a culture system for the long-term expansion of tree shrew SSCs without the loss of stem cell properties. In our study, thymus cell antigen 1 was used to enrich tree shrew SSCs. RNA-sequencing analysis revealed that the Wnt/?-catenin signaling pathway was active in undifferentiated SSCs, but was downregulated upon the initiation of SSC differentiation. Exposure of tree shrew primary SSCs to recombinant Wnt3a protein during the initial passages of culture enhanced the survival of SSCs. Use of tree shrew Sertoli cells, but not mouse embryonic fibroblasts, as feeder was found to be necessary for tree shrew SSC proliferation, leading to a robust cell expansion and long-term culture. The expanded tree shrew SSCs were transfected with enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP)-expressing lentiviral vectors. After transplantation into sterilized adult male tree shrew's testes, the EGFP-tagged SSCs were able to restore spermatogenesis and successfully generate transgenic offspring. Moreover, these SSCs were suitable for the CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene modification. The development of a culture system to expand tree shrew SSCs in combination with a gene editing approach paves the way for precise genome manipulation using the tree shrew.
Project description:The development of a stem cell culture system would expedite our understanding of the biology of tissue regeneration. Spermatogonial stem cell (SSC) is the foundation for lifelong male spermatogenesis and the SSC culture has been optimized continuously in recent years. However, there have been many inconveniences to reconstruct SSC self-renewal and proliferation in vitro, such as the frequent refreshment of recombinant cytokines, including GDNF, the essential growth factor for SSC maintenance. In the present study, we observed that both STO and MEF cells, which were previously used as feeders for SSC growth, did not express GDNF, but a GDNF-expressing STO feeder could support undifferentiated mouse spermatogonia propagation in vitro for three months without the refreshment of recombinant growth factor GDNF. The cell morphology, growth rate and SSC-associated gene expression remained identical to the SSCs cultured using previous methods. The transplantation of SSCs growing on these GDNF-expressing STO feeders could generate extensive colonies of spermatogenesis in recipient testes, functionally validating the stemness of these cells. Collectively, our data indicated that the further modification of feeder cells might facilitate the self-renewal and propagation of SSCs in vitro.