More Advancement in Adult Stem Cell Pluripotency and Sourcing

Filed in ScienceTags: Stem Cells

From this HealthFinder article comes news that scientists have identified stem cells from the testes of mice - and that these stem cells demonstrate pluripotency:

U.S. researchers say they've successfully reprogrammed adult stem cells from the testes of male mice into a wide variety of cell types, including functional blood vessels, contractile cardiac tissue, and brain cells.

If the same can be done with adult testes stem cells from humans, they may offer a source of new therapies to treat men with health problems such as heart disease, vascular diseases, diabetes, stroke, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and even cancer, the researchers said.

The study, by Howard Hughes Medical Institute scientists, is published in the Sept. 20 issue of the journal Nature.

Here is the editor's summary of the article (subscription required for full article):

Adult stem cells are an attractive alternative to embryonic stem cells for therapeutic use. As yet there is no standard method for obtaining such cells from adults and priming them to form different tissues, but a new system that generates large numbers of stem cells from the adult testicle shows promise. It makes use of a novel marker, an orphan receptor known as GPR125, found on the surface of spermatogonial stem cells. The use of specialized feeder cells to support stem cell growth allows stem cells once destined for spermatogenesis to become multipotent. This work also provides clues as to the minimal requirements for multipotency in adult cells.

And here is the money part of the first paragraph of the article:

Primary GPR125–LacZ SPC lines retained GPR125 expression, underwent clonal expansion, maintained the phenotype of germline stem cells, and reconstituted spermatogenesis in busulphan-treated mice. Long-term cultures of GPR125+ SPCs (GSPCs) also converted into GPR125+ MASC colonies. GPR125+ MASCs generated derivatives of the three germ layers and contributed to chimaeric embryos, with concomitant downregulation of GPR125 during differentiation into GPR125- cells. MASCs also differentiated into contractile cardiac tissue in vitro and formed functional blood vessels in vivo.

Terminology watch:

SPC (spermatogonial progenitor cells):

Spermatogonial means "any of the cells of the gonads in male organisms that are the progenitors of spermatocytes."

(Spermatocytes are sperm precursor cells.)

Progenitor cells are immature or undifferentiated cells, that may have stem-cell-like properties of self-renewal and differentiation.

Thus SPCs are the undifferentiated cells that eventually produce sperm.

MASC (multipotent adult spermatogonial-derived stem cells):

Multipotent refers to the ability to differentiate into at least several cell types.

Thus, MASCs are stem cells derived from SPCs.

UPDATE: Mary Meets Dolly has also picked up the story.