Differentiation of fetal sertoli cells in the adult testis

in Reproduction
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  • 1 Department of Anatomy, Kawasaki Medical School, Kurashiki, Okayama, Japan
  • 2 Department of Cell Biology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to T Yokonishi or B Capel; Email: yokonishi@med.kawasaki-m.ac.jp or blanche.capel@duke.edu
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Sertoli cells proliferate and construct seminiferous tubules during fetal life, then undergo differentiation and maturation in the prepubertal testes. In the adult testes, mature Sertoli cells maintain spermatogonia and support spermatogenesis during the entire lifetime. Although Sertoli-like cells have been derived from iPS cells, they tend to remain immature. To investigate whether Sertoli cells can spontaneously acquire the ability to support spermatogenesis when transferred into the adult testis, we transplanted mouse fetal testicular cells into a Sertoli-depleted adult testis. We found that donor E12.5, E14.5 and E16.5 Sertoli cells colonized adult seminiferous tubules and supported host spermatogenesis 2 months after transplantation, demonstrating that immature fetal Sertoli cells can undergo sufficient maturation in the adult testis to become functional. This technique will be useful to analyze the developmental process of Sertoli cell maturation and to investigate the potential of iPS-derived Sertoli cells to colonize, undergo maturation, and support spermatogenesis within the testis environment.

 

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