Is-34: Spermatogonial Stem Cells: from Biology to Clinic


van Pelt AMM *,

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Survival rates for patients with pediatric cancer have continuously improved over the past decades, due to the development of more advanced cancer therapies. However, chemotherapeutic drugs not only effectively kill cancer cells, but also destroy spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs), the stem cells of spermatogenesis. As a consequence, male sterility is a relatively common side effect of cancer treatment. A potential future clinical application to preserve fertility in these boys with cancer is to cryopreserve a small testis biopsy prior to cancer treatment, isolate and propagate the SSCs from this biopsy and autotransplant these cells after cure for cancer. Studies in animal models have provided evidence that this method might indeed preserve the fertility. In 1994 transplantation of testicular cells from a recipient mouse to the testis of a donor mouse was described for the first time. The SSCs from the recipient mouse were able to migrate to the basal membrane of the seminiferous tubules and colonize the testis of the donor mouse, giving full spermatogenesis of which sperm was capable of fertilizing eggs and producing healthy offspring. Later on, SSC transplantation has been described for many animal species indicating that this method is no species specific. Xenotransplantation of SSCs of various species into the testis of a donor mouse has been developed as the ultimate tool to recognize SSCs. Using the transplantation assay as a read out, SSC characteristics could be studied in more detail, resulting in the establishment of a long term culture of mouse SSCs that after transplantation could produce sperm to generate offspring. These techniques are now translated to the human situation to establish a clinical application of SSC autotransplantation for preserving male sterility in young boys diagnosed