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Experimental Study Finds Sperm Stem Cells Can Reverse Infertility

Last Updated: November 06, 2012.

Spermatogonial stem cells from monkey testes tissue taken before cancer chemotherapy that results in infertility can be transplanted back into the testes after treatment and produce functional sperm, even when taken from prepubertal animals, according to a study published in the Nov. 2 issue of Cell Stem Cell.

TUESDAY, Nov. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Spermatogonial stem cells from monkey testes tissue taken before cancer chemotherapy that results in infertility can be transplanted back into the testes after treatment and produce functional sperm, even when taken from prepubertal animals, according to a study published in the Nov. 2 issue of Cell Stem Cell.

Brian P. Hermann, Ph.D., from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and colleagues took testes samples from 12 adult and five prepubertal recipient macaques, treated the macaques with alkylating chemotherapy to render them infertile, then performed autologous transplants with spermatogonial stem cells back into the testes.

The researchers found that the stem cells, which had been labeled, were present in the ejaculated sperm of nine adults and, after they reached maturity, three prepubertal recipients. A similar allogeneic stem cell transplant into six adults led to donor-recipient chimerism in sperm from two recipients. Ejaculated sperm from one allogeneic transplant were injected into 85 rhesus oocytes, with 81 fertilizations producing embryos ranging from four-cell to blastocyst.

"This demonstration of functional donor spermatogenesis following spermatogonial stem cell transplantation in primates is an important milestone for informed clinical translation," Hermann and colleagues conclude.

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