Conrad, S., Azizi, H., Hatami, M., Kubista, M., Bonin, M., Hennenlotter, J., Renninger, M., Skutella, T. Differential gene expression profiling of enriched human spermatogonia after short- and long-term culture. Biomed Research International, 2014. Article Number: 138350, doi: 10.1155/2014/138350. ISSN 2314-6133. eISSN 2314-6141.
This study aimed to provide a molecular signature for enriched adult human stem/progenitor spermatogonia during shortterm (<2 weeks) and long-term culture (up to more than 14 months) in comparison to human testicular fibroblasts and human embryonic stem cells. Human spermatogonia were isolated by CD49f magnetic activated cell sorting and collagen−/laminin+ matrix binding from primary testis cultures obtained from ten adult men. For transcriptomic analysis, single spermatogonia-like cells were collected based on their morphology and dimensions using a micromanipulation system from the enriched germ cell cultures. Immunocytochemical, RT-PCR and microarray analyses revealed that the analyzed populations of cells were distinct at the molecular level. The germ- and pluripotency-associated genes and genes of differentiation/spermatogenesis pathway were highly expressed in enriched short-term cultured spermatogonia. After long-term culture, a proportion of cells retained and aggravated the “spermatogonial” gene expression profile with the expression of germ and pluripotency-associated genes, while in the majority of long-term cultured cells this molecular profile, typical for the differentiation pathway, was reduced and more genes related to the extracellular matrix production and attachment were expressed. The approach we provide here to study the molecular status of in vitro cultured spermatogonia may be important to optimize the culture conditions and to evaluate the germ cell plasticity in the future.