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Germ Cell Finding Could Point to Fertility Treatment

Last Updated: April 17, 2009.

The use of human embryonic stem cells to produce in vitro derived primordial germ cells may someday offer a way to treat couples with infertility caused by germ cell defects, according to research published in the April issue of Stem Cells.

FRIDAY, April 17 (HealthDay News) -- The use of human embryonic stem cells to produce in vitro derived primordial germ cells may someday offer a way to treat couples with infertility caused by germ cell defects, according to research published in the April issue of Stem Cells.

Tae Sub Park, Ph.D., of the University of California in Los Angeles, and colleagues discuss several findings, including their efforts to create a triple biomarker assay to aid in the identification and isolation of human primordial germ cells (PGCs).

Using these markers to characterize in vitro derived PGCs (iPGCs) from pluripotent cells, the authors found that co-differentiating human embryonic stem cells on human fetal gonadal stromal cells was associated with increased efficiency in creating iPGCs compared with using first-trimester human placental or fetal liver stromal cells.

"Our results show that derivation of iPGCs from pluripotent cells following seven days of differentiation on human fetal gonadal stromal cells results in the generation of immature PGCs corresponding to a developmental stage in vivo between specification and less than nine weeks of gestation," the authors write. "Our results suggest that the ability to initiate imprint erasure was dependent upon the epigenetic status of the undifferentiated pluripotent cell population from which the iPGC population was generated."

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