Posted on Oct 09, 2008, 7 a.m.
By Rich Hurd
New research has found that testicular germ cells can be transformed into cells resembling embryonic stem cells, potentially providing researchers with a non-controversial source of the cells.
New research has found that testicular germ cells can be transformed into cells resembling embryonic stem cells, potentially providing researchers with a non-controversial source of the cells for stem cell research.
Thomas Skutella and colleagues at the University of Tubingen, Germany, biopsied adult stem cells called spermatogonial cells from the testicles of adult men. The researchers cultured the cells and exposed them to a number of growth factors, which led to the cells taking on “cellular and molecular” characteristics of embryonic stem cells. These cells were then transformed into a variety of cells including heart, bone, pancreas, and nerve cells, via exposure to specific growth factors.
The researchers conclude: “The generation of human adult germline stem cells from testicular biopsies may provide simple and non-controversial access to individual cell-based therapy without the ethical and immunological problems associated with human embryonic stem cells.”
Conrad S, Renninger M, Hennenlotter J, Wiesner T, Just L, Bonin M, Aicher W, Buhring HJ, Mattheus U, Mack A, Wagner HJ, Minger S, Matzkies M, Reppel M, Hescheler J, Sievert KD, Stenzl A, Skutella T. Generation of pluripotent stem cells from adult human testis. Nature doi:10.1038/nature07404; Published online 8 October 2008.