Table of Contents  
REVIEW
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 972-980

Application of three-dimensional culture systems to study mammalian spermatogenesis, with an emphasis on the rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta)


1 The Shraga Segal Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Genetics, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel
2 Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Magee-Womens Research Institute, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA

Date of Submission02-Aug-2014
Date of Decision26-Nov-2014
Date of Acceptance04-Mar-2015
Date of Web Publication02-Jun-2015

Correspondence Address:
Mahmoud Huleihel
The Shraga Segal Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Genetics, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva
Israel
Tony M Plant
Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Magee-Womens Research Institute, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
USA
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1008-682X.154994

Rights and Permissions
  Abstract 

In vitro culture of spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) has generally been performed using two-dimensional (2D) culture systems; however, such cultures have not led to the development of complete spermatogenesis. It seems that 2D systems do not replicate optimal conditions of the seminiferous tubules (including those generated by the SSC niche) and necessary for spermatogenesis. Recently, one of our laboratories has been able to induce proliferation and differentiation of mouse testicular germ cells to meiotic and postmeiotic stages including generation of sperm in a 3D soft agar culture system (SACS) and a 3D methylcellulose culture system (MCS). It was suggested that SACS and MCS form a special 3D microenvironment that mimics germ cell niche formation in the seminiferous tubules, and thus permits mouse spermatogenesis in vitro. In this review, we (1) provide a brief overview of the differences in spermatogenesis in rodents and primates, (2) summarize data related to attempts to generate sperm in vitro, (3) report for the first time formation of colonies/clusters of cells and differentiation of meiotic (expression of CREM-1) and postmeiotic (expression of acrosin) germ cells from undifferentiated spermatogonia isolated from the testis of prepubertal rhesus monkeys and cultured in SACS and MCS, and (4) indicate research needed to optimize 3D systems for in vitroprimate spermatogenesis and for possible future application to man.

Keywords: in vitro spermatogenesis; methylcellulose culture system; monkey; primates; soft agar culture system; three-dimensional culture system


How to cite this article:
Huleihel M, Nourashrafeddin S, Plant TM. Application of three-dimensional culture systems to study mammalian spermatogenesis, with an emphasis on the rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta). Asian J Androl 2015;17:972-80

How to cite this URL:
Huleihel M, Nourashrafeddin S, Plant TM. Application of three-dimensional culture systems to study mammalian spermatogenesis, with an emphasis on the rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta). Asian J Androl [serial online] 2015 [cited 2019 Oct 14];17:972-80. Available from: http://www.ajandrology.com/text.asp?2015/17/6/972/154994 - DOI: 10.4103/1008-682X.154994


  Introduction Top


Spermatogenesis is an intricate process of male germ cell proliferation and differentiation that leads to the generation of sperm. [1] The process involves several types of undifferentiated and differentiating germ cells located in the seminiferous tubules within the testis. Spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) are primitive diploid germ cells attached to the basement membrane of the seminiferous tubule and located in specific "niches" within these testicular structures. SSCs are the cells that initiate and maintain the process of spermatogenesis throughout adulthood. [2],[3],[4],[5],[6],[7],[8],[9] Stem cells divide to generate two types of daughter cells: new stem cells and progenitor cells. It had generally been considered that progenitor cells were only capable of proliferating before they committed to the path of differentiation. However, recent studies of mice combining pulse-labeling to track spermatogonial lineage with live-imaging of the in situ testis suggest that the relationship between stem and progenitor cells maybe much more plastic than initially thought. [6]

In mammalian species, spermatogenesis relies on the appropriate expansion of undifferentiated and differentiating spermatogonia prior to the entry of germ cells into meiosis and subsequent spermiogenesis. [1] Spermatogonial proliferation and differentiation and the control of these processes have been studied primarily using rodent models. The extent to which the results of such studies may be directly translated to man, however, is uncertain. There are differences in spermatogenesis between rodents and primates. [10],[11] In contrast to rodents, spermatogenesis in primates is not initiated until several years after birth, and the abbreviated first wave of spermatogenesis observed in the former species [12],[13] would seem to have no adaptive value in long-lived primates. Spermatogonial differentiation in primates is highly dependent on pituitary gonadotropin secretion and following hypophysectomy in the rhesus monkey only  Sertoli cells More Details and undifferentiated spermatogonia are observed in the testis. [10] In the rat, on the other hand, meiotic cells are found in the absence of gonadotropin stimulation. [14] Each cycle of the seminiferous epithelium in rodents is initiated by transformation of undifferentiated spermatogonia into the first generation of differentiating spermatogonia, while in the rhesus monkey (and other highly evolved primates presumably) the cycle is initiated with a mitotic division. [11] In adult rodents, the testis appears to be functioning at its spermatogenic ceiling but in the rhesus monkey this is not the case, as reflected by the finding that unilateral orchidectomy in this macaque postpubertally results in an increase in testicular volume of the contralateral testis. [15] Spermatogenesis in the adult rhesus monkey may also be increased by selectively increasing stimulation with FSH, but interestingly not with LH. [16]

The use of nonhuman primates in biomedical research poses special problems. These animals represent a limited and expensive resource, and their large size, long lifespan, genetic intractability and out-bred nature require the development of robust in vitro approaches in order to better understand the biology of spermatogonia in these species. In this regard, xenotransplantation of primate testicular cells and xenografts of primate testicular tissue to the testis or subcutaneous sites of recipient mice, respectively, have been reported. [4],[7],[17],[18],[19],[20],[21],[22],[23] Such studies have demonstrated that when baboon, rhesus monkey or human testicular germ cells were transplanted into the rete testis of mice they formed small colonies of spermatogonia in the seminiferous tubules of the recipient, but further differentiation was not observed. [4],[23] Most importantly, however, autologous and allogeneic SSC transplantation into rhesus monkey testes regenerated spermatogenesis, with sperm derived from one allogeneic donor shown to initiate blastocyst development when injected into oocytes. [20] Several factors should be considered to improve the outcome of xenotransplantation, and these have been discussed in considerable detail by others previously. [24]

Autologous grafts of marmoset testicular tissue to orthotopic, but not ectopic, sites, led to complete spermatogenesis, suggesting that the site of transplantation rather than the endocrine milieu may be important for development of the transplanted testicular tissue. [22] More recently, testicular tissue from peripubertal rhesus monkeys, which had been collected and cryopreserved approximately 2 years before the animals were castrated, was autologously transplanted into the scrotum approximately 2-3 months postcastration. Five months after transplantation, sperm were observed in some seminiferous tubules of the orthotopic grafts. [21]

Until recently, three-dimensional (3D) culture systems have only been applied to the study of SSC activity in mice. [25],[26],[27] The finding that 3D cultures supported the proliferation of mouse testicular germ cells and their differentiation to meiotic and postmeiotic stages including generation of sperm like-cells, indicates that these in vitro systems offer great potential for investigating the mechanisms that control male germ cell differentiation. A major purpose of this article is to review previous work with 3D cultures of rodent cells and to describe our preliminary attempts to apply 3D culture systems to the study of primate spermatogonia. First, however, we briefly describe the process of spermatogenesis in rodents and primates.

Spermatogenesis

Spermatogonial cell types


Spermatogonia are classified into undifferentiated and differentiating subtypes. In mice, three types of undifferentiated spermatogonia are traditionally recognized (A single, As; A pair, Apr; A aligned; Aal) and these spermatogonia comprise <1% of the entire population of testicular cells in this species. [2] There is continuing debate about whether the stem cell pool is restricted to As, as classically proposed by Huckins (1971) [28] and Oakberg (1971) [29] or might be expanded to include Apr and some Aal. [6],[8],[30] During sequential divisions, the progenitor cells remain connected by intercellular bridges to form Apr and clones of Aal spermatogonia (syncytia of 2, 4, 8 and up to 16 cells). [28],[29] The kinetics of progenitor spermatogonial divisions do not appear to be synchronized with the seminiferous epithelial cycle (see below). Aal spermatogonia transform as clones giving rise to the first generation of differentiating spermatogonia (type A1), which undergo a series of mitotic divisions yielding an additional 5 generations of differentiating spermatogonia (type A2, A3, A4, Intermediate and B). Intermediate and type B spermatogonia are morphologically distinct appearing as large interconnected cohorts of cells in tubules that may be visualized in the longitudinal plane in preparations known as "whole mounts". [2]

Schemata of spermatogonial proliferation and differentiation in primates are based largely on the classical work of Clermont and colleagues 40 to 50 years ago. [31] In macaques and men, two morphologically distinguishable types of undifferentiated spermatogonia have been traditionally proposed, the types A dark (Ad) and A pale (Ap). Both cell types are present on the basement membrane of the primate seminiferous tubule but differ mainly in the nuclear architecture and staining intensity with hematoxylin. Although both are commonly referred to as SSCs, [4],[11],[32],[33],[34],[35] the precise relationship between these spermatogonial types is unknown and their "relative stemness" has not been established empirically. In the rhesus monkey, Ap spermatogonia undergo mitosis to generate the first of four generations of differentiating type B spermatogonia, known as B1, B2, B3 and B4. [10],[31] In man, only 1 generation of type B spermatogonia has been reported. [36]

Seminiferous epithelium cycle

Spermatogenesis in mammals occurs in a synchronized, cyclic pattern where the cellular associations of differentiating germ cells are maintained in a progressive and repeated fashion. [1],[2] Accordingly, it is possible to classify the seminiferous epithelium into numerous discrete "stages" based upon the cellular complement observed in a given segment of the seminiferous tubule. In the mouse, 12 discrete stages of the seminiferous epithelium were identified, 14 stages in rats, 12 stages in the Old World monkeys (olive baboon, and stump-tailed, rhesus and cynomolgus macaque) and 6 in chimpanzee and human. [4] It should be noted that in rodents, prosimians, and most Old World monkeys, cross-sections of the seminiferous tubules show only a single spermatogenic stage. However, in New World monkeys, great apes and man cross-sections of seminiferous tubule may show multiple stages. [37],[38] However, the significance of this species variability in the organization of the seminiferous tubule to the cellular and molecular processes governing germ cell differentiation is unclear.

Little is known about the clonal distribution of Ad and Ap spermatogonia in the primate testis. It was initially reported that pairs and quartets of Ad and Ap spermatogonia are present in seminiferous tubules of the rhesus macaque. [33],[34] Later, results from low-dose irradiated testis of the rhesus monkey showed that following recovery clones of various sizes of both Ad and Ap were observed in the seminiferous tubules similar to the clonal organization of spermatogonia in rodents. [39] Recently, Schlatt and his colleagues have described clonal arrangements of spermatogonia in testes from the adult rhesus monkey and marmoset. [40] However, the progression of spermatogonial clones has not been systematically studied in any species of primate.

Biomolecular markers for testicular germ cells

Relative extensive research with rodents examining specific molecular markers of the cell surface, cytoplasmic and nuclear proteins has led to the broad molecular characterization of spermatogonia phenotype at different stages of differentiation. These markers include α6-integrin, b1-integrin, cluster of differentiation 9 (CD9), cadherin 1 (CDH1), glial cell line-derived nerve factor family receptor alpha 1 (GFR-α1), G protein-coupled receptor 125 (GPR125), c-KIT, neurogenin3 (NGN3), promyelocytic leukemia zinc finger protein (PLZF), octamer-binding transcription factor 4 (OCT4), stimulated by retinoic acid gene 8 (STRA8) and thymocyte differentiation antigen 1 (THY-1) [see 3 for a review]. However, until very recently, little was known about the markers of spermatogonial proliferation and differentiation in primates. Contemporary studies have shown that some of the rodent spermatogonial markers were also expressed in the human and monkey testes. [3],[4],[19],[41],[42] In the testis of the adult rhesus monkey, most Ad and ~50% of Ap were GFR-α1+, PLZF+, NGN3−, c-KIT−: a phenotype restricted to As spermatogonia in the mouse. [19] In addition, similar to longer-chain progenitor cells of the rodent (Aal) that express c-KIT, some Ap in the adult rhesus testis were GFR-α1+, PLZF+, NGN3+, c-KIT+. Thus, Hermann et al. [19] proposed that the SSC pool in the rhesus monkey may comprise all Ad and at least 50% of Ap spermatogonia, and that the SSC pool in primates is considerably larger than that in mouse testis. On the other hand, it seems that the progenitor pool is larger in rodents compared to macaques. [19] Recently, it was demonstrated that, as in mouse and macaque, GFR-α1, GPR125, THY-1, α6-Integrin, CD133, SSEA4, VASA, DAZL, TSPYL2 and PLZF are expressed in human testicular germ cells. [3],[4],[43] b1-Intergin, c-KIT, OCT-4 and testis-specific protein, Y-encoded (TSPY), however, were differentially expressed in rodent and human testis. [3] This may suggest differences between rodents and human in markers expressed by their respective SSCs and their progeny.

Recently, it was demonstrated for the common marmoset monkey that some of the molecular markers of spermatogonia discussed above were also expressed by cells derived from connective tissue of the testis that are known as testicular multipotent stromal cells. [44],[45] Such findings underline the importance in studies of germ cell differentiation of selecting markers for specific germ cell types and using well-characterized antibodies for identification of the markers.

Dynamic niches for mammalian spermatogenesis

SSCs reside within niches that are generated primarily by the somatic Sertoli cells (but also interstitial and peritubular cells), which elaborate a microenvironment that is conducive to SSC activity. The niche is extremely sensitive to local and systemic physiological and/or pathological factors that may affect both the quality and location of the niche, and thus may change the normal progression of stem cell development. [7],[46],[47] It is considered that niches are governed locally by interactions between somatic cells and the germ cells. These interactions are likely to be achieved through secretion of several paracrine factors by the Sertoli cells and other somatic elements that target developing germ cells either directly and/or indirectly after cross-talk between the niche cells generates an integrated signal to the developing germ cells. [7],[47],[48],[49],[50],[51],[52] Some of the well-known factors produced by these cells and affecting SSC self-renewal and differentiation include glial cell line derived nerve factor (GDNF), fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2), and insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) (expressed mainly by Sertoli cells), colony stimulating factor-1 (CSF-1) (mainly by Leydig cells), leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) (mainly by peritubular cells), and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) (mainly by vasculature interstitial tissue and Sertoli cells). [7] In addition, matrix components such as fibronectin, collagens, and laminins, and adhesion molecules expressed by interstitial and tubule cells also contribute to the SSC niche. [7],[48]

In rodents, SSC and other undifferentiated spermatogonia (Ap/Aal) are located on the basement membrane in seminiferous tubules in close vicinity to the interstitial blood vessels, and as they undergo differentiation they migrate to different niches, which in turn can support further differentiation. [5],[53],[54],[55],[56] Whether this anatomical relationship between SSCs and the interstitial vasculature is observed in primates, where the SSC reside within the population of Ad and Ap, remains to be determined. Additional niches may be associated with successive generations of germ cells as they move toward the lumen of the seminiferous tubules. These putative niches are likely to be critical for the regulation of the entire spermatogenic process. [57] In this regard, the characteristics of such niches in terms of paracrine factors and matrix and adhesion components are likely to depend on whether the niche is regulating SSC fate or proliferation of differentiating spermatogonia. [7],[48],[58]

The process of spermatogenesis in both rodents and primates requires gonadotropin stimulation. [10] Leydig cells are regulated primarily by LH, while the major endocrine control of Sertoli cells is provided by FSH, in combination with testosterone derived from the Leydig cell in response to LH stimulation. Endocrine regulation of somatic testicular cells affects the type and levels of the paracrine factors produced by these cells and thus undoubtedly determine, in part, the niches they contribute too.

Development of spermatogenesis in vitro

Attempts to develop spermatogenesis in vitro were initiated almost a century ago, when investigators placed fragments of seminiferous tubules into organ culture. [59] Subsequently, culture conditions were modified by, for example, addition of gas-liquid interphases and addition of amino acids and hormones to the media. [60],[61],[62],[63],[64] Notwithstanding, these approaches led only to the development of early stage spermatids. Very recently, however, Sato et al. [65],[66],[67] reported complete spermatogenesis with the generation of fertile sperm from the culture of mouse seminiferous tubules.

Another approach to achieving spermatogenesis in vitro has been to employ 2D systems to culture isolated germ cells from seminiferous tubules of rodents. Those laboratories developing such cell culture approaches were faced by many obstacles that had to be overcome. Most significant was the need to identify SSCs, which are present in very low numbers in the testes of rodents. In this regard, the recognition of markers for SSCs such as GFR-α1, CD9, and THY-1, led to their enriched isolation and facilitated their use in vitro. [68] Although it has been estimated that there are approximately 35 000 As spermatogonia in the testis of adult mice, only about 3000 of these are considered to be SSCs (0.01% of total testis cells). [69],[70] Additionally, the conditions that are critical for promoting proliferation and differentiation of SSCs in vivo remain elusive and are, therefore, unlikely to be fully replicated in vitro.[47] Nevertheless, isolated testicular germ cells have been cultured in the presence of a battery of growth factors (GDNF, LIF, SCF, GF, FGF, etc) and/or on various layers of feeder cells such as vero cells (a cell line derived from the kidney of the African green monkey), mouse embryo fibroblasts (MEF), Sertoli cells, and Leydig cells. [48],[71],[72],[73] Although the latter conditions have led to germ cell proliferation, entry into meiosis and differentiation of postmeiotic cells, complete spermatogenesis was not achieved. [27],[48],[71],[72],[73]

Recently, Sadri-Ardekani et al. [74],[75] reported proliferation of SSC isolated from normal men and prepubertal patients with cancer when cells were cultured in StemPro media, while Koruji et al. [76] using laminin-coated dishes found that SSCs from azoospermic patients proliferated in the presence of GDNF, bFGF, EGF and LIF. Both groups used a 2D culture system comprised of laminin-coated dishes. Using RNA and protein markers, Sadri-Ardekani et al. [74],[75] demonstrated the ability of their system to support the proliferation of SSC for approximately 7 months. Xenotransplantation into recipient mice was used to demonstrate the functionality of human SSCs and calculate their number, which increased by 53-fold within 19 days and by nearly 20 000-fold within 64 days. The calculation of SSC number was based on the number of spermatogonial colonies that developed in the xenotransplanted mice after SSCs had migrated to the basal compartment of the recipient testes, and the 5% efficiency at which human SSCs colonize the mouse testis. [74] Another study using a culture system that contained human Sertoli cells as a monolayer reported the proliferation of SSC obtained from azoospermic patients in the absence of exogenous growth factors. [77] On the other hand, Lim et al. [78] reported proliferation of SSCs isolated from obstructive and nonobstructive azoospermic patients and cultured on laminin-coated dishes (without Sertoli cells) in the presence of growth factors such as GDNF, LIF, EGF and FGF.

While spermatogonia enter meiosis on the basement membrane, completion of this critical step in spermatogenesis requires that the differentiating germ cells migrate through the blood-testicular barrier. This process and subsequent movement of the postmeiotic germ cell toward the lumen of the seminiferous tubule is governed by cell-cell interactions between Sertoli cells and maturing germ cells, [79],[80] and signals in the extracellular matrix comprised of several growth/differentiation factors in the specific microenvironment. [45] So far, these factors and signals have not been fully defined. It is reasonable, however, to suggest that developing germ cells are affected by different and specific niches during their migration to the lumen of the seminiferous tubule. These local and specific microenvironments are likely involved in the regulation of all stages of male germ cell development: since many are probably incomplete or missing under 2D in vitro culture conditions, alternative approaches have been sought with the aim of providing optimal conditions for SSC behavior in vitro.

In the intact testis, male germ cells are located inside a 3D structure formed by the seminiferous tubule. Therefore, it was reasoned that 3D culture of SSCs may provide an environment that more closely mimics the in situ conditions. Recently, one of our laboratories described two novel 3D culture systems: a soft agar culture system (SACS) and a methylcellulose culture system (MCS) [25],[27],[47] ([Figure 1] and [Table 1]). The SACS was composed of two layers: a solid lower layer (layer 1, 0.5% (w/v) agar), which contained RPMI (Roswell Park Memorial Institute medium 1640) and FCS (fetal calf serum), and a soft upper layer (layer 2, 0.37% (w/v) agar), which also contained RPMI. The MCS system was composed of only one layer. Cultures were maintained at either 35°C or 37°C. Seminiferous tubular cells (STC) from mouse testis were isolated using a two-step enzyme digestion and experiments were performed as follows: isolated STC were cultured in either the lower or upper layer of SACS containing in some cases hormones (FSH + hCG). In addition, GFR-α1-enriched or GFR-α1-depleted cells were also cultured without hormones ([Table 1]). FCS was added to SACS in the study by Abu Elhija et al. [25]
Figure 1: Schematic of in vitro methyl cellulose and soft agar culture systems (MCS and SACS, respectively). MCS was composed of 42% methylcellulose (MC), 25% fetal calf serum (FCS) and 38% RPMI (Roswell Park Memorial Institute medium 1640). SACS was composed of two layers: a solid lower layer (layer 1) (0.5% (w/v) agar) consisting of RPMI containing 25% FCS, and a soft upper layer (layer 2) (0.35% (w/v) agar). Both cultures were performed in 24-well plates. Testicular tissue from juvenile rhesus monkeys was enzymatically digested as described by Hermann et al.19 and isolated seminiferous tubular cells were used for culture in MCS (106 cells per well per 500 μl) or in the upper phase of the SACS (layer 2) (106 cells per well per 200 μl) with or without hormones (FSH and testosterone) (in layer 1) in 5% CO2 at 37°C.25,26.

Click here to view
Table 1: Experimental conditions used for culture of isolated seminiferous tubular cells in SACS and MCS


Click here to view


In contrast to conventional cell cultures where the dish is coated with gelatin, collagen, matrigel, or other support materials, the 3D matrices provided in SACS and MCS exist as a thick layer (several millimeters to several centimeters), in which the germ and supporting cells are embedded ([Figure 1]). It was suggested that these 3D systems provide niches that recapitulate to some extent the microenvironment and spatial arrangement of the in vivo conditions in the seminiferous tubule where germ cells are embedded in Sertoli cells. [1] 3D culture systems might also provide an improved structural environment for cell-cell interactions essential for clonal expansion and differentiation of germ cells. Additionally, these systems may allow the organization of germ cells into densely packed clusters that provide conditions which facilitate the delivery of oxygen, nutrients, and other factors and thus enable the maintenance of their survival and proliferation. Also, these clusters may provide and maintain germ cell-germ cell contacts necessary during differentiation. [47]

The foregoing approach has allowed one of our laboratories to achieve male germ cell development (proliferation and differentiation to sperm), although, to date, efficiency of the spermatogenic process in 3D systems has been low and identification of sperm has required fixation of the cells generated in culture. Therefore, it has not been possible to isolate sperm postculture in order to assess sperm quality using intracytoplasmic sperm injection. [25],[27] To date, the work with these 3D systems should, therefore, be considered as providing proof of principle for the in vitro generation of sperm-like cells from mouse spermatogonial cells.

Pilot studies of juvenile rhesus monkey male germ cell differentiation using 3D culture system

This part of the review describes our initial attempts with SACS and MCS ([Figure 1] and [Table 1]) to examine proliferation and differentiation of testicular germ cells from the rhesus monkey, a representative highly evolved primate. We considered that the juvenile rhesus monkey would be a good model to explore the feasibility of using 3D culture systems to study primate spermatogenesis for the following reason. The juvenile phase of prepubertal development in this monkey, as in man, is characterized by a protracted hypogonadotropic and hypoandrogenic state [81] that provides an ideal baseline for examining the initiation of spermatogenesis. The only germ cells present in the testis of the juvenile rhesus monkey (typically 6 to 36 months of age) are type A undifferentiated spermatogonia that are proliferating in a relatively gonadotropin-independent manner. [82],[83] Spermatogonial differentiation, however, may be readily induced by stimulation with LH or testosterone, either alone or in combination with FSH. [15],[83],[84] Qualitatively, the germ cell complement of the juvenile testis is similar to that of the neonatal and infant testis, but at the earlier postnatal stages of development, the testis is exposed to adult-like levels of LH/testosterone and FSH. [83] Spermatogonial differentiation, however, is not initiated at these early stages of postnatal development because androgen receptor signaling by the Sertoli cell has not "matured". [85]


  Materials and Methods Top


In the studies to be described we isolated STC from testes of juvenile (13-33 months age; n = 6) rhesus monkeys immediately after castration. STC were enzymatically isolated as described by Hermann et al. [4] STC of juvenile testes, which comprise mainly undifferentiated spermatogonia, Sertoli cells and peritubular cells, were cultured in SACS or MCS and incubated (37°C, 5% CO 2 ) for 4-8 weeks in the presence or absence of hormones (recombinant macaque FSH [5 ng ml−1 ] and testosterone [T; 10−7 m mol l -1 ]). With regard to the temperature of the culture, proliferation and differentiation of mouse SSCs in 3D systems at 35°C or 37°C appears to be similar, [25],[27] so a general laboratory incubator set at 37°C was used. Prior to STC isolation, a fragment of a testis from each monkey was fixed in 4% paraformaldehyde, and later paraffin-embedded. Five micrometer sections were used for PAS-hematoxylin staining or dual fluorescence immunohistochemical staining for GFRα1 (a marker of undifferentiated spermatogonia) and c-KIT (a marker of differentiating spermatogonia) as described in a previous study from one of our laboratories. [86] Details of the antibodies used are provided in [Table 2]. As previously reported for the testis of juvenile monkeys, [82],[83] PAS-hematoxylin staining revealed that the testes of all animals were comprised of seminiferous cords that contained Sertoli cells and undifferentiated type A spermatogonia only. Moreover, all cords contained many spermatogonia positive for GFR-α1 but all were negative for c-KIT. Representative PAS-hematoxylin and dual immunofluorescence stained testis sections from the youngest and oldest juvenile monkey used in this study are compared to those from an adult as shown in [Figure 2]. These results confirm that the only germ cells present in the testis prior to 3D culture were type A undifferentiated spermatogonia.
Figure 2: Prepubertal status of testis from the youngest (left-hand panels) and oldest (center panels) juvenile monkey used to isolate germ cells for 3D culture. A section from the testis of an adult monkey is shown for comparison (right-hand panels). PAS-hematoxylin staining (1st row, ×40) confirmed the presence of seminiferous cords containing only Sertoli cells and undifferentiated spermatogonia in testes from the juveniles. Confocal projections (×20; 1 μm optical sections) illustrating the distribution of GFR-α1 (2nd row) and c-KIT (3rd row) immunostaining in 5 μm sections of testis confirmed the absence of differentiating spermatogonia in the testis of the juveniles as revealed by the absence of c-KIT positive cells. c-KIT immunopositive spermatogonia were pronounced and numerous in the seminiferous tubules of the adult. Merged staining for GFR-α1 and c-KIT is presented in the bottom row of the figure. Scale bar: 50 μm.

Click here to view
Table 2: Antibodies used in the present study


Click here to view


Developed colonies in MCS were harvested, suspended in RPMI and centrifuged at 3000 RPM for 10 min. The pellet was then collected and washed with RPMI and recentrifuged. The new pellet was diluted in 0.5 ml RPMI. Part of the suspension (100 ml) was mounted on SuperFrost R Plus slides, dried at room temperature, fixed in cold methanol for 20 min. and then stored at 4°C until stained. Immunofluorescence staining using specific antibodies ([Table 2]) for various markers of germ cell differentiation was performed as described in a previous study by one of our laboratories. [25]


  Results Top


Types of colonies/clusters developed

Monkey testicular germ cells cultured for 4-8 weeks in SACS ([Figure 3]a) or MCS ([Figure 3]b) formed colonies/clusters of cells of variable sizes. Colonies containing more than 10 cells but <50 cells were considered as small (S), colonies containing more than 50 but <150 cells were considered as medium (M) and those containing more than 150 cells were considered as large (L). In some cases, germ cell colonies were identified in the upper layer of SACS while somatic cells (mainly Sertoli and peritubular cells) were present in the lower layer of the system. In other cases, however, germ and somatic cells were both found in the upper layer of SACS. Similarly, in MCS, germ cell colonies in methylcellulose were either separated from somatic cells that were adhered to the plastic below the methylcellulose or juxtaposed to the adherent somatic cells; the later organization indicating that physical contact between the germ cell colonies and somatic cells may occur.
Figure 3: Juvenile rhesus monkey seminiferous tubular cell colony development in SACS (a) and MCS (b). Isolated seminiferous tubule cells were cultured as described in Figure 1. The sizes of the colonies developed in SACS (upper layer) and in MCS were evaluated after 4-8 weeks of culture. Colonies were designated as small (S) when they contained more than 10 cells but <50; medium (M) when they contained between 50 and 150 cells; and large (L) when they contained more than 150 cells. Scale bar (bottom right): 20 μm.

Click here to view


Effect of hormones and duration of incubation on the number of developed colonies

Colonies/clusters of cells developed in MCS regardless of the presence or absence of hormones (FSH [5 ng ml−1 ] and testosterone [10−7 mol l−1 ]), and these were counted after 4 and 5 weeks of culture. As depicted in [Figure 4]a, in the absence of hormone, the number of S colonies increased with the duration of cultures (P < 0.01). However, the number of M colonies was unrelated to the duration of culture, and the number of L colonies appeared to be inversely related to the duration of culture (P < 0.05) ([Figure 4]a). In the presence of hormone, on the other hand, the number of colonies of all sizes was independent of the duration of culture ([Figure 4]b). The number of S and L colonies in the absence of hormones were significantly higher compared to those in the presence of hormones (P < 0.001) for 5 and 4 weeks, respectively ([Figure 4]a and b respectively). To confirm proliferation of germ cells in these cultures, it will be necessary to perform additional experiments and assess mitotic indices, using either an endogenous marker of proliferation, such as Ki-67 or an exogenous S-phase label, such as BrdU.
Figure 4: Effect of duration (4 or 5 weeks) of culture without ( a ) and with ( b ) hormones (FSH [5 ng ml−1] and testosterone [10-7 mol l−1]) on the number of germ cell colonies (small, medium and large) developed from juvenile rhesus monkey seminiferous tubule cells in MCS (mean ± SE). *compared between 4 and 5 weeks (*P < 0.05; **P < 0.01). #compared between with and without hormones (##P < 0.01; ###P < 0.001).

Click here to view


Expression of premeiotic, meiotic and postmeiotic markers in MCS

We analyzed germ cell differentiation in MCS since it was technically easier to recover large numbers of cells and colonies in this system compared to SACS. Colonies of all sizes and cells were harvested after 30 days of culture, and the degree of differentiation of the recovered germ cells was examined using immunofluorescence. A battery of specific antibodies was used for this purpose ([Table 2]). Before culture, VASA, SALL4 and GFR-α1 positive cells (premeiotic cells) were present in isolated STC from juveniles ([Figure 5]a). The same premeiotic markers were also observed after 30 days of culture with or without hormones ([Figure 5]b). The percentage of recovered cells expressing these markers after 30 days of culture (without hormones) was increased compared to before culture: for VASA from 5.4% ° 3% to 19.0% ° 11% (3 cultures from 3 monkeys), for SALL4 from 0.5% to 13% ° 7% (3 cultures from 3 monkeys), and for GFR-α1 from 8.5% ° 3% before culture to 16% ° 7% after 30 days of culture (5 cultures from 5 monkeys). These results demonstrate that undifferentiated Type A spermatogonia survive in MCS and indicate, but do not prove that they may proliferate in this culture system. Cells positive for CREM-1 (meiotic cells) and acrosin (postmeiotic cells) were not present in isolated STC from juvenile monkey testes before culture ([Figure 5]a, middle panel). These cells, however, were present after culture with and without hormones ([Figure 5]b): the percentage of recovered cells positive for CREM-1 at 30 days of culture (without hormones) was 30% ° 9% (5 cultures from 5 monkeys), while that of acrosin positive cells with a rounded morphology recovered at this time was 27% ° 10% (3 cultures from 3 monkeys) ([Figure 5]b). In one experiment, CREM-1 positive cells (14% ° 8%) were recovered as early as day 14 of culture. As a positive control for CREM-1 and acrosin, we used tubular cells and semen from adult monkeys, respectively ([Figure 5]a, lower panel).
Figure 5: Immunofluorescence staining of juvenile rhesus monkey seminiferous tubular cells. ( a ) Isolated seminiferous tubular cells from juvenile monkeys were stained before culture in MCS by specific antibodies (Table 2) for markers of progressive germ cell differentiation, including VASA, SALL4, and GFR-α1 (premeiotic), CREM-1 (meiotic), and ACROSIN (postmeiotic) (upper and middle panels). As a positive control for CREM-1 and ACROSIN, semen and seminiferous tubular cells from adult monkeys were used (lower panel). Scale bar: 20 μm. ( b ) Colonies that developed within 30 days in MCS were collected, and the cells stained by specific antibodies for VASA, SALL4, GFR-α1, CREM-1, and ACROSIN. White arrows indicate a cell positive for respective marker and insets show the magnified cell. Scale bar: 20 μm. NC, negative control (primary antibody omitted or relevant IgG was added instead of the primary antibody) (NC1 represent mouse host antibodies, and NC2 represent rabbit host antibodies).

Click here to view



  Discussion Top


The present study using the MCS 3D culture system demonstrates for the first time that undifferentiated Type A spermatogonia harvested from the testes of the juvenile rhesus monkeys survive and commit to a pathway of differentiation under in vitro conditions, with both meiotic and postmeiotic cells being consistently observed after 30 days in culture. The kinetics of the germ cell development observed was not inconsistent with the in vivo situation where formation of pachytene spermatocytes from Type Ap spermatogonia takes a little over one cycle of the seminiferous epithelium (10.5 days) that characterizes this species of macaque. [31],[87],[88] Also of note, differentiation was induced in the absence of testosterone and FSH stimulation; however, the important question of whether the colonies were generated by a SSC or simply by differentiation of undifferentiated Type A spermatogonia devoid of "stemness" remains to be established.

Our inability to identify elongated spermatids in colonies of monkey germ cells in MCS could be related to inadequacies of the culture system that prevent the final stages of germ cell differentiation from occurring. Alternatively, as suggested in a previous study of mice using SACS [25] and discussed above, the inability to see spermatozoa in MCS may be related to either difficulties in microscopically identifying these cells in the thick agar layer or their very limited production. However, the case may be, these studies with rhesus monkey STC cells suggest that 3D systems mimic, at least in part, the in vivo conditions of the primate seminiferous tubule that promote the differentiation of Type A spermatogonia to spermatocytes. In addition, our findings also indicate that isolation of STC from the juvenile monkey testis and placing them into 3D culture removes the undifferentiated spermatogonia at this stage of development from a microenvironment that prevents their differentiation, or the survival of their differentiated progeny, in the in situ gonad. This being the case, it might be speculated that isolation of seminiferous tubular cells and their subsequent culture in 3D systems, results in reduction in signal transduction in pathways that have been implicated to suppress spermatogonial differentiation, such as that for GFR-1. [89] Future studies might be directed at testing this hypothesis by (1) examining the growth factor content of 3D culture systems in which germ cell differentiation occurs and (2) comparing differences in gene expression by Sertoli cells in vivo with that under 3D culture conditions. We also suggest that it may be informative to determine the extent to which germ cell differentiation in 3D culture system proceeds when purified germ cell preparations are cultured in the absence of somatic cells. Once a baseline is established "add back" experiments with specific populations of somatic cells, or respective conditioned media might then be performed. Further insight into factors that regulate male germ cell differentiation may be gained by exploring a phenomenon reported in the late 90s that injection of spermatocytes, or the nuclei of these meiotic cells, into activated oocytes was able to facilitate the completion of male meiosis. [90],[91] One of the current limitations of the present study was the low number of germ cells in the final 3D cultures, which prevented a more comprehensive analysis of these cultures. Future studies, as outlined above, are expected to resolve this problem.

In summary, the successful maintenance of SSCs in culture and the capacity to induce their self-renewal, proliferation and differentiation, under controlled conditions is likely to deepen our understanding of spermatogonial biology. This approach may also provide new insight into the biology of stem cells in nongonadal tissues. Additionally, 3D culture systems may lead to new therapeutic strategies for specific types of male infertility, including patients with azoospermic syndromes and cancer patients (prepubertal boys and adults), who cannot generate sperm to be cryopreserved but who have SSCs. In moving this field forward, we should always be cognizant of potential risks. Technologies to achieve pregnancy using intracytoplasmic injection of sperm harvested or generated from testes of subfertile/infertile men may pose a genetic risk to the offspring. [92],[93] In addition, the generation of sperm in vitro may disrupt the normal epigenetic characteristics of male gametes that could lead to an increased risk of genomic imprinting disorders and abnormal embryogenesis. [92],[93] Therefore, before such approaches are translated to the clinic a full understanding of epigenetic programming of male germ cells developed in vitro needs to be at hand.

In vitro culture systems may also be helpful in assessing the mechanism of action of contraceptive agents that induce infertility at the testicular level. Finally successful spermatogenesis in vitro could also be used for animal conservation and preservation of endangered species.


  Author Contributions Top


MH pioneered the use of SACS and MCS for spermatogenesis in vitro, made substantial contributions to the conception and design of the study and the experiments; carried out the MCS experiments and immunofluorescence staining; performed the statistical analysis; the interpretation of the data, and participated in drafting and critically revising the paper for key intellectual content. TMP made substantial contributions to the conception and participated in designing the study, interpreting the data and critically revising the paper for key intellectual content. SN performed the immuno- and histochemical staining of testicular tissue. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


  Competing Financial Interests Top


The authors declare no competing financial interests.


  Acknowledgments Top


Work in the author's laboratories was supported, in part, by NIH grants U54 HD08160 and HD13254 to TMP and by Ben-Gurion University and the German-Israel Foundation (GIF) for MH. The authors wish to thank Dr. Brian Hermann for guidance with testicular cell isolation, Dr. Suresh Ramaswamy for conducting the castrations and Ms. Caroline Phalin for technical assistance.

 
  References Top

1.
Sharpe RM. Regulation of spermatogenesis. In: Knobil E, Neill JD, editors. The Physiology of Reproduction. 2 nd ed. New York: Raven; 1994. p. 1363-434.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
de Rooij DG, Russell LD. All you wanted to know about spermatogonia but were afraid to ask. J Androl 2000; 21: 776-98.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Dym M, Kokkinaki M, He Z. Spermatogonial stem cells: mouse and human comparisons. Birth Defects Res C Embryo Today 2009; 87: 27-34.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Hermann BP, Sukhwani M, Hansel MC, Orwig KE. Spermatogonial stem cells in higher primates: are there differences from those in rodents? Reproduction 2010; 139: 479-93.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Yoshida S. Stem cells in mammalian spermatogenesis. Dev Growth Differ 2010; 52: 311-7.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Yoshida S. Elucidating the identity and behavior of spermatogenic stem cells in the mouse testis. Reproduction 2012; 144: 293-302.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Oatley JM, Brinster RL. The germline stem cell niche unit in mammalian testes. Physiol Rev 2012; 92: 577-95.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Kanatsu-Shinohara M, Shinohara T. Spermatogonial stem cell self-renewal and development. Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol 2013; 29: 163-87.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Yang QE, Oatley JM. Spermatogonial stem cell functions in physiological and pathological conditions. Curr Top Dev Biol 2014; 107: 235-67.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Plant TM, Marshall GR. The functional significance of FSH in spermatogenesis and the control of its secretion in male primates. Endocr Rev 2001; 22: 764-86.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Plant TM. Undifferentiated primate spermatogonia and their endocrine control. Trends Endocrinol Metab 2010; 21: 488-95.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.
Jan SZ, Hamer G, Repping S, de Rooij DG, van Pelt AM, et al. Molecular control of rodent spermatogenesis. Biochim Biophys Acta 2012; 1822: 1838-50.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
13.
Kolasa A, Misiakiewicz K, Marchlewicz M, Wiszniewska B. The generation of spermatogonial stem cells and spermatogonia in mammals. Reprod Biol 2012; 12: 5-23.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
14.
Vigier M, Weiss M, Perrard MH, Godet M, Durand P. The effects of FSH and of testosterone on the completion of meiosis and the very early steps of spermiogenesis of the rat: an in vitro study. J Mol Endocrinol 2004; 33: 729-42.  Back to cited text no. 14
    
15.
Ramaswamy S, Marshall GR, McNeilly AS, Plant TM. Dynamics of the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)-inhibin B feedback loop and its role in regulating spermatogenesis in the adult male rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta) as revealed by unilateral orchidectomy. Endocrinology 2000; 141: 18-27.  Back to cited text no. 15
    
16.
Simorangkir DR, Ramaswamy S, Marshall GR, Pohl CR, Plant TM. A selective monotropic elevation of FSH, but not that of LH, amplifies the proliferation and differentiation of spermatogonia in the adult rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta). Hum Reprod 2009; 24: 1584-95.  Back to cited text no. 16
    
17.
Rathi R, Zeng W, Megee S, Conley A, Meyers S, et al. Maturation of testicular tissue from infant monkeys after xenografting into mice. Endocrinology 2008; 149: 5288-96.  Back to cited text no. 17
    
18.
Hermann BP, Sukhwani M, Lin CC, Sheng Y, Tomko J, et al. Characterization, cryopreservation, and ablation of spermatogonial stem cells in adult rhesus macaques. Stem Cells 2007; 25: 2330-8.  Back to cited text no. 18
    
19.
Hermann BP, Sukhwani M, Simorangkir DR, Chu T, Plant TM, et al. Molecular dissection of the male germ cell lineage identifies putative spermatogonial stem cells in rhesus macaques. Hum Reprod 2009; 24: 1704-16.  Back to cited text no. 19
    
20.
Hermann BP, Sukhwani M, Winkler F, Pascarella JN, Peters KA, et al. Spermatogonial stem cell transplantation into rhesus testes regenerates spermatogenesis producing functional sperm. Cell Stem Cell 2012; 11: 715-26.  Back to cited text no. 20
    
21.
Jahnukainen K, Ehmcke J, Nurmio M, Schlatt S. Autologous ectopic grafting of cryopreserved testicular tissue preserves the fertility of prepubescent monkeys that receive sterilizing cytotoxic therapy. Cancer Res 2012; 72: 5174-8.  Back to cited text no. 21
    
22.
Luetjens CM, Stukenborg JB, Nieschlag E, Simoni M, Wistuba J. Complete spermatogenesis in orthotopic but not in ectopic transplants of autologously grafted marmoset testicular tissue. Endocrinology 2008; 149: 1736-47.  Back to cited text no. 22
    
23.
Nagano M, McCarrey JR, Brinster RL. Primate spermatogonial stem cells colonize mouse testes. Biol Reprod 2001; 64: 1409-16.  Back to cited text no. 23
    
24.
Sofikitis N, Kaponis A, Mio Y, Makredimas D, Giannakis D, et al. Germ cell transplantation: a review and progress report on ICSI from spermatozoa generated in xenogeneic testes. Hum Reprod Update 2003; 9: 291-307.  Back to cited text no. 24
    
25.
Abu Elhija M, Lunenfeld E, Schlatt S, Huleihel M. Differentiation of murine male germ cells to spermatozoa in a soft agar culture system. Asian J Androl 2012; 14: 285-93.  Back to cited text no. 25
    
26.
Stukenborg JB, Wistuba J, Luetjens CM, Elhija MA, Huleihel M, et al. Coculture of spermatogonia with somatic cells in a novel three-dimensional soft-agar-culture-system. J Androl 2008; 29: 312-29.  Back to cited text no. 26
    
27.
Stukenborg JB, Schlatt S, Simoni M, Yeung CH, Elhija MA, et al. New horizons for in vitro spermatogenesis? An update on novel three-dimensional culture systems as tools for meiotic and post-meiotic differentiation of testicular germ cells. Mol Hum Reprod 2009; 15: 521-9.  Back to cited text no. 27
    
28.
Huckins C. The spermatogonial stem cell population in adult rats. I. Their morphology, proliferation and maturation. Anat Rec 1971; 169: 533-57.  Back to cited text no. 28
    
29.
Oakberg EF. Spermatogonial stem-cell renewal in the mouse. Anat Rec 1971; 169: 515-31.  Back to cited text no. 29
[PUBMED]    
30.
Nakagawa T, Nabeshima Y, Yoshida S. Functional identification of the actual and potential stem cell compartments in mouse spermatogenesis. Dev Cell 2007; 12: 195-206.  Back to cited text no. 30
    
31.
Clermont Y. Kinetics of spermatogenesis in mammals: seminiferous epithelium cycle and spermatogonial renewal. Physiol Rev 1972; 52: 198-236.  Back to cited text no. 31
[PUBMED]    
32.
Clermont Y, Leblond CP. Differentiation and renewal of spermatogonia in the monkey, Macacus rhesus. Am J Anat 1959; 104: 237-73.  Back to cited text no. 32
[PUBMED]    
33.
Clermont Y. Two classes of spermatogonial stem cells in the monkey (Cercopithecus aethiops). Am J Anat 1969; 126: 57-71.  Back to cited text no. 33
[PUBMED]    
34.
Ehmcke J, Wistuba J, Schlatt S. Spermatogonial stem cells: questions, models and perspectives. Hum Reprod Update 2006; 12: 275-82.  Back to cited text no. 34
    
35.
de Rooij DG, van de Kant HJ, Dol R, Wagemaker G, van Buul PP, et al. Long-term effects of irradiation before adulthood on reproductive function in the male rhesus monkey. Biol Reprod 2002; 66: 486-94.  Back to cited text no. 35
    
36.
Aponte PM, van Bragt MP, de Rooij DG, van Pelt AM. Spermatogonial stem cells: characteristics and experimental possibilities. APMIS 2005; 113: 727-42.  Back to cited text no. 36
    
37.
Luetjens CM, Weinbauer GF, Wistuba J. Primate spermatogenesis: new insights into comparative testicular organisation, spermatogenic efficiency and endocrine control. Biol Rev Camb Philos Soc 2005; 80: 475-88.  Back to cited text no. 37
    
38.
Wistuba J, Schrod A, Greve B, Hodges JK, Aslam H, et al. Organization of seminiferous epithelium in primates: relationship to spermatogenic efficiency, phylogeny, and mating system. Biol Reprod 2003; 69: 582-91.  Back to cited text no. 38
    
39.
van Alphen MM, van de Kant HJ, de Rooij DG. Repopulation of the seminiferous epithelium of the rhesus monkey after X irradiation. Radiat Res 1988; 113: 487-500.  Back to cited text no. 39
    
40.
Ehmcke J, Luetjens CM, Schlatt S. Clonal organization of proliferating spermatogonial stem cells in adult males of two species of non-human primates, Macaca mulatta and Callithrix jacchus. Biol Reprod 2005; 72: 293-300.  Back to cited text no. 40
    
41.
Mauduit C, Hamamah S, Benahmed M. Stem cell factor/c-kit system in spermatogenesis. Hum Reprod Update 1999; 5: 535-45.  Back to cited text no. 41
    
42.
Ramaswamy S, Razack BS, Roslund RM, Suzuki H, Marshall GR, et al. Spermatogonial SOHLH1 nucleocytoplasmic shuttling associates with initiation of spermatogenesis in the rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta). Mol Hum Reprod 2014; 20: 350-7.  Back to cited text no. 42
    
43.
Conrad S, Renninger M, Hennenlotter J, Wiesner T, Just L, et al. Generation of pluripotent stem cells from adult human testis. Nature 2008; 456: 344-9.  Back to cited text no. 43
    
44.
Eildermann K, Gromoll J, Behr R. Misleading and reliable markers to differentiate between primate testis-derived multipotent stromal cells and spermatogonia in culture. Hum Reprod 2012; 27: 1754-67.  Back to cited text no. 44
    
45.
Warthemann R, Eildermann K, Debowski K, Behr R. False-positive antibody signals for the pluripotency factor OCT4A (POU5F1) in testis-derived cells may lead to erroneous data and misinterpretations. Mol Hum Reprod 2012; 18: 605-12.  Back to cited text no. 45
    
46.
Phillips BT, Gassei K, Orwig KE. Spermatogonial stem cell regulation and spermatogenesis. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 2010; 365: 1663-78.  Back to cited text no. 46
    
47.
Mahmoud H. Spermatogenesis in an artificial three-dimensional system. Stem Cells 2012; 30: 2355-60.  Back to cited text no. 47
    
48.
Huleihel M, Abuelhija M, Lunenfeld E. In vitro culture of testicular germ cells: regulatory factors and limitations. Growth Factors 2007; 25: 236-52.  Back to cited text no. 48
    
49.
Nagano M, Ryu BY, Brinster CJ, Avarbock MR, Brinster RL. Maintenance of mouse male germ line stem cells in vitro. Biol Reprod 2003; 68: 2207-14.  Back to cited text no. 49
    
50.
Sofikitis N, Pappas E, Kawatani A, Baltogiannis D, Loutradis D, et al. Efforts to create an artificial testis: culture systems of male germ cells under biochemical conditions resembling the seminiferous tubular biochemical environment. Hum Reprod Update 2005; 11: 229-59.  Back to cited text no. 50
    
51.
Sousa M, Cremades N, Alves C, Silva J, Barros A. Developmental potential of human spermatogenic cells co-cultured with Sertoli cells. Hum Reprod 2002; 17: 161-72.  Back to cited text no. 51
    
52.
Tesarik J, Greco E, Mendoza C. Assisted reproduction with in-vitro-cultured testicular spermatozoa in cases of severe germ cell apoptosis: a pilot study. Hum Reprod 2001; 16: 2640-5.  Back to cited text no. 52
    
53.
Chiarini-Garcia H, Hornick JR, Griswold MD, Russell LD. Distribution of type A spermatogonia in the mouse is not random. Biol Reprod 2001; 65: 1179-85.  Back to cited text no. 53
    
54.
Chiarini-Garcia H, Raymer AM, Russell LD. Non-random distribution of spermatogonia in rats: evidence of niches in the seminiferous tubules. Reproduction 2003; 126: 669-80.  Back to cited text no. 54
    
55.
Yoshida S, Nabeshima Y, Nakagawa T. Stem cell heterogeneity: actual and potential stem cell compartments in mouse spermatogenesis. Ann N Y Acad Sci 2007; 1120: 47-58.  Back to cited text no. 55
    
56.
Yoshida S, Sukeno M, Nabeshima Y. A vasculature-associated niche for undifferentiated spermatogonia in the mouse testis. Science 2007; 317: 1722-6.  Back to cited text no. 56
    
57.
Caires K, Broady J, McLean D. Maintaining the male germline: regulation of spermatogonial stem cells. J Endocrinol 2010; 205: 133-45.  Back to cited text no. 57
    
58.
Lee JH, Kim HJ, Kim H, Lee SJ, Gye MC. In vitro spermatogenesis by three-dimensional culture of rat testicular cells in collagen gel matrix. Biomaterials 2006; 27: 2845-53.  Back to cited text no. 58
    
59.
Goldschmidt R. Some experiments on spermatogenesis in vitro. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 1915; 1: 220-2.  Back to cited text no. 59
    
60.
Martinovitch PN. Development in vitro of the mammalian gonad. Nature 1937; 139: 413.  Back to cited text no. 60
    
61.
Steinberger E, Steinberger A, Perloff WH. Initiation of spermatogenesis in vitro. Endocrinology 1964; 74: 788-92.  Back to cited text no. 61
[PUBMED]    
62.
Steinberger A, Steinberger E. Differentiation of rat seminiferous epithelium in organ culture. J Reprod Fertil 1965; 9: 243-8.  Back to cited text no. 62
[PUBMED]    
63.
Steinberger A, Steinberger E. In vitro culture of rat testicular cells. Exp Cell Res 1966; 44: 443-52.  Back to cited text no. 63
[PUBMED]    
64.
Parvinen M, Wright WW, Phillips DM, Mather JP, Musto NA, et al. Spermatogenesis in vitro: completion of meiosis and early spermiogenesis. Endocrinology 1983; 112: 1150-2.  Back to cited text no. 64
[PUBMED]    
65.
Sato T, Katagiri K, Gohbara A, Inoue K, Ogonuki N, et al. In vitro production of functional sperm in cultured neonatal mouse testes. Nature 2011; 471: 504-7.  Back to cited text no. 65
    
66.
Sato T, Katagiri K, Yokonishi T, Kubota Y, Inoue K, et al. In vitro production of fertile sperm from murine spermatogonial stem cell lines. Nat Commun 2011; 2: 472.  Back to cited text no. 66
    
67.
Sato T, Katagiri K, Kubota Y, Ogawa T. In vitro sperm production from mouse spermatogonial stem cell lines using an organ culture method. Nat Protoc 2013; 8: 2098-104.  Back to cited text no. 67
    
68.
He Z, Kokkinaki M, Dym M. Signaling molecules and pathways regulating the fate of spermatogonial stem cells. Microsc Res Tech 2009; 72: 586-95.  Back to cited text no. 68
    
69.
Nagano MC. Homing efficiency and proliferation kinetics of male germ line stem cells following transplantation in mice. Biol Reprod 2003; 69: 701-7.  Back to cited text no. 69
    
70.
Tegelenbosch RA, de Rooij DG. A quantitative study of spermatogonial multiplication and stem cell renewal in the C3H/101 F1 hybrid mouse. Mutat Res 1993; 290: 193-200.  Back to cited text no. 70
    
71.
Reuter K, Schlatt S, Ehmcke J, Wistuba J. Fact or fiction: in vitro spermatogenesis. Spermatogenesis 2012; 2: 245-52.  Back to cited text no. 71
    
72.
Song HW, Wilkinson F. In vitro spermatogenesis. Spermatogenesis 2012; 2: 238-44.  Back to cited text no. 72
    
73.
Hunter D, Anad-Ivell R, Danner S, Ivell R. Models of in vitro spermatogenesis. Spermatogenesis 2012; 2: 1-12.  Back to cited text no. 73
    
74.
Sadri-Ardekani H, Mizrak SC, van Daalen SK, Korver CM, Roepers-Gajadien HL, et al. Propagation of human spermatogonial stem cells in vitro. JAMA 2009; 302: 2127-34.  Back to cited text no. 74
    
75.
Sadri-Ardekani H, Akhondi MA, van der Veen F, Repping S, van Pelt AM. In vitro propagation of human prepubertal spermatogonial stem cells. JAMA 2011; 305: 2416-8.  Back to cited text no. 75
    
76.
Koruji M, Shahverdi A, Janan A, Piryaei A, Lakpour MR, et al. Proliferation of small number of human spermatogonial stem cells obtained from azoospermic patients. J Assist Reprod Genet 2012; 30: 325-32.  Back to cited text no. 76
    
77.
Mirzapour T, Movahedin M, Tengku Ibrahim TA, Koruji M, Haron AW, et al. Effects of basic fibroblast growth factor and leukaemia inhibitory factor on proliferation and short-term culture of human spermatogonial stem cells. Andrologia 2012; 44 Suppl 1: 41-55.  Back to cited text no. 77
    
78.
Lim JJ, Sung SY, Kim HJ, Song SH, Hong JY, et al. Long-term proliferation and characterization of human spermatogonial stem cells obtained from obstructive and non-obstructive azoospermia under exogenous feeder-free culture conditions. Cell Prolif 2010; 43: 405-17.  Back to cited text no. 78
    
79.
Walker WH. Testosterone signaling and the regulation of spermatogenesis. Spermatogenesis 2011; 1: 116-20.  Back to cited text no. 79
    
80.
Smith BE, Braun RE. Germ cell migration across Sertoli cell tight junctions. Science 2012; 338: 798-802.  Back to cited text no. 80
    
81.
Plant TM, Witchel SF. Puberty in nonhuman primates and humans. In: Knobil E, Neill JD, editors. The Physiology of Reproduction. 3 rd ed. San Diego: Elsevier; 2006. p. 2177-230.  Back to cited text no. 81
    
82.
Simorangkir DR, Marshall GR, Ehmcke J, Schlatt S, Plant TM. Prepubertal expansion of dark and pale type A spermatogonia in the rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta) results from proliferation during infantile and juvenile development in a relatively gonadotropin independent manner. Biol Reprod 2005; 73: 1109-15.  Back to cited text no. 82
    
83.
Plant TM, Ramaswamy S, Simorangkir D, Marshall GR. Postnatal and pubertal development of the rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta) testis. Ann N Y Acad Sci 2005; 1061: 149-62.  Back to cited text no. 83
    
84.
Ramaswamy S, Plant TM, Marshall GR. Pulsatile stimulation with recombinant single chain human luteinizing hormone elicits precocious sertoli cell proliferation in the juvenile male rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta). Biol Reprod 2000; 63: 82-8.  Back to cited text no. 84
    
85.
Majumdar SS, Sarda K, Bhattacharya I, Plant TM. Insufficient androgen and FSH signaling may be responsible for the azoospermia of the infantile primate testes despite exposure to an adult-like hormonal milieu. Hum Reprod 2012; 27: 2515-25.  Back to cited text no. 85
    
86.
Simorangkir DR, Ramaswamy S, Marshall GR, Roslund R, Plant TM. Sertoli cell differentiation in rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta) is an early event in puberty and precedes attainment of the adult complement of undifferentiated spermatogonia. Reproduction 2012; 143: 513-22.  Back to cited text no. 86
    
87.
Weinbauer GF, Schubert J, Yeung CH, Rosiepen G, Nieschlag E. Gonadotrophin-releasing hormone antagonist arrests premeiotic germ cell proliferation but does not inhibit meiosis in the male monkey: a quantitative analysis using 5-bromodeoxyuridine and dual parameter flow cytometry. J Endocrinol 1998; 156: 23-34.  Back to cited text no. 87
    
88.
Simorangkir DR, Marshall GR, Plant TM. A re-examination of proliferation and differentiation of type A spermatogonia in the adult rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta). Hum Reprod 2009; 24: 1596-604.  Back to cited text no. 88
    
89.
Parker N, Falk H, Singh D, Fidaleo A, Smith B, et al. Responses to glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor change in mice as spermatogonial stem cells form progenitor spermatogonia which replicate and give rise to more differentiated progeny. Biol Reprod 2014; 91: 92.  Back to cited text no. 89
    
90.
Kimura Y, Tateno H, Handel MA, Yanagimachi R. Factors affecting meiotic and developmental competence of primary spermatocyte nuclei injected into mouse oocytes. Biol Reprod 1998; 59: 871-7.  Back to cited text no. 90
    
91.
Sofikitis N, Mantzavinos T, Loutradis D, Yamamoto Y, Tarlatzis V, et al. Ooplasmic injections of secondary spermatocytes for non-obstructive azoospermia. Lancet 1998; 351: 1177-8.  Back to cited text no. 91
[PUBMED]    
92.
Georgiou I, Syrrou M, Pardalidis N, Karakitsios K, Mantzavinos T, et al. Genetic and epigenetic risks of intracytoplasmic sperm injection method. Asian J Androl 2006; 8: 643-73.  Back to cited text no. 92
    
93.
Georgiou I, Pardalidis N, Giannakis D, Saito M, Watanabe T, et al. In vitro spermatogenesis as a method to bypass pre-meiotic or post-meiotic barriers blocking the spermatogenetic process: genetic and epigenetic implications in assisted reproductive technology. Andrologia 2007; 39: 159-76.  Back to cited text no. 93
    


    Figures

  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4], [Figure 5]
 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2]


This article has been cited by
1 Three-dimensional decellularized amnion membrane scaffold promotes the efficiency of male germ cells generation from human induced pluripotent stem cells
Meysam Ganjibakhsh,Fereshteh Mehraein,Morteza Koruji,Reza Aflatoonian,Parvaneh Farzaneh
Experimental Cell Research. 2019; : 111544
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
2 Identification of Premeiotic, Meiotic, and Postmeiotic Cells in Testicular Biopsies Without Sperm from Sertoli Cell-Only Syndrome Patients
Maram Abofoul-Azab,Eitan Lunenfeld,Eliahu Levitas,Atif Zeadna,Johnny Younis,Shalom Bar-Ami,Mahmoud Huleihel
International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2019; 20(3): 470
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
3 Acute Myeloid Leukemia Affects Mouse Sperm Parameters, Spontaneous Acrosome Reaction, and Fertility Capacity
Yulia Michailov,Eitan Lunenfeld,Joseph Kapilushnik,Shevach Friedler,Eckart Meese,Mahmoud Huleihel
International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2019; 20(1): 219
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
4 Cultivation of mammals early male germ cells in a semi liquid medium
S A Vasileva
IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science. 2019; 315: 072014
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
5 In vitro spermatogenesis: A century-long research journey, still half way around
Mitsuru Komeya,Takuya Sato,Takehiko Ogawa
Reproductive Medicine and Biology. 2018;
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
6 Development of Postmeiotic Cells In Vitro from Spermatogonial Cells of Prepubertal Cancer Patients
Maram Abofoul-Azab,Ali AbuMadighem,Eitan Lunenfeld,Joseph Kapelushnik,QingHua Shi,Haim Pinkas,Mahmoud Huleihel
Stem Cells and Development. 2018;
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
7 Development of Spermatogenesis In Vitro in Three-Dimensional Culture from Spermatogonial Cells of Busulfan-Treated Immature Mice
Ali AbuMadighem,Ronnie Solomon,Alina Stepanovsky,Joseph Kapelushnik,QingHua Shi,Eckart Meese,Eitan Lunenfeld,Mahmoud Huleihel
International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2018; 19(12): 3804
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
8 Leukemia and male infertility: past, present, and future
Yulia Michailov,Eitan Lunenfeld,Joseph Kapelushnik,Mahmoud Huleihel
Leukemia & Lymphoma. 2018; : 1
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
9 Differentiation of human male germ cells from Whartonæs jelly-derived mesenchymal stem cells
DMAB Dissanayake,H Patel,PS Wijesinghe
Clinical and Experimental Reproductive Medicine. 2018; 45(2): 75
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
10 Establishment, maintenance and functional integrity of the blood–testis barrier in organotypic cultures of fresh and frozen/thawed prepubertal mouse testes
C. Rondanino,A. Maouche,L. Dumont,A. Oblette,N. Rives
MHR: Basic science of reproductive medicine. 2017; 23(5): 304
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
11 Insights into in vitro spermatogenesis in mammals: Past, present, future
Amir Fattahi,Zeinab Latifi,Tohid Ghasemnejad,Hamid Reza Nejabati,Mohammad Nouri
Molecular Reproduction and Development. 2017;
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
12 The effects of melatonin on colonization of neonate spermatogonial mouse stem cells in a three-dimensional soft agar culture system
Shadan Navid,Mehdi Abbasi,Yumi Hoshino
Stem Cell Research & Therapy. 2017; 8(1)
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
13 Initial germ cell to somatic cell ratio impacts the efficiency of SSC expansion in vitro
Itai Gat,Leila Maghen,Melissa Filice,Shlomit Kenigsberg,Brandon Wyse,Khaled Zohni,Peter Saraz,Andrée Gauthier Fisher,Clifford Librach
Systems Biology in Reproductive Medicine. 2017; : 1
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
14 Testicular organoids: a new model to study the testicular microenvironment in vitro?
João Pedro Alves-Lopes,Jan-Bernd Stukenborg
Human Reproduction Update. 2017;
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
15 Fertility restoration with spermatogonial stem cells
Francesca de Michele,Maxime Vermeulen,Christine Wyns
Current Opinion in Endocrinology & Diabetes and Obesity. 2017; 24(6): 424
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
16 Making gametes from alternate sources of stem cells: past, present and future
Deepa Bhartiya,Sandhya Anand,Hiren Patel,Seema Parte
Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology. 2017; 15(1)
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
17 Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome at Prepuberty: Marked Loss of Spermatogonial Cells at Early Childhood and Presence of Gonocytes up to Puberty
Paula Aliberti,Natalia Perez Garrido,Roxana Marino,Pablo Ramirez,Alberto J. Solari,Roberta Sciurano,Mariana Costanzo,Gabriela Guercio,Diana Mónica Warman,Marcela Bailez,María Sonia Baquedano,Marco A Rivarola,Alicia Belgorosky,Esperanza Berensztein
Sexual Development. 2017; 11(5-6): 225
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
18 Human spermatogonial stem cells display limited proliferation in vitro under mouse spermatogonial stem cell culture conditions
Jose V. Medrano,Charlotte Rombaut,Carlos Simon,Antonio Pellicer,Ellen Goossens
Fertility and Sterility. 2016;
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
19 In Vitro Spermatogenesis: How Far from Clinical Application?
Guillermo Galdon,Anthony Atala,Hooman Sadri-Ardekani
Current Urology Reports. 2016; 17(7)
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
20 Melatonin promotes development of haploid germ cells from early developing spermatogenic cells ofSuffolksheep under in vitro condition
Shou-Long Deng,Su-Ren Chen,Zhi-Peng Wang,Yan Zhang,Ji-Xin Tang,Jian Li,Xiu-Xia Wang,Jin-Mei Cheng,Cheng Jin,Xiao-Yu Li,Bao-Lu Zhang,Kun Yu,Zheng-Xing Lian,Guo-Shi Liu,Yi-Xun Liu
Journal of Pineal Research. 2016; 60(4): 435
[Pubmed] | [DOI]



 

Top
 
 
  Search
 
Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
Access Statistics
Email Alert *
Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)

 
  In this article
Abstract
Introduction
Materials and Me...
Results
Discussion
Author Contributions
Competing Financ...
Acknowledgments
References
Article Figures
Article Tables

 Article Access Statistics
    Viewed2641    
    Printed32    
    Emailed0    
    PDF Downloaded434    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 20    

Recommend this journal


[TAG2]
[TAG3]
[TAG4]