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Volume 24, Issue 1 (January 2022) 24, 5–14; 10.4103/aja.aja_41_21

Recent advances in isolation, identification, and culture of mammalian spermatogonial stem cells

Hua-Ming Xi, Yi-Jie Ren, Fa Ren, Yu Li, Tian-Yu Feng, Zhi Wang, Ye-Qing Du, Li-Kun Zhang, Jian-Hong Hu

Key Laboratory of Animal Genetics, Breeding and Reproduction of Shaanxi Province, College of Animal Science and Technology, Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University, Yangling 712100, China

Correspondence: Dr. JH Hu (hjh19732008@nwafu.edu.cn)

Date of Submission 22-Aug-2020 Date of Acceptance 30-Mar-2021 Date of Web Publication 11-Jun-2021


Continuous spermatogenesis depends on the self-renewal and differentiation of spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs). SSCs, the only male reproductive stem cells that transmit genetic material to subsequent generations, possess an inherent self-renewal ability, which allows the maintenance of a steady stem cell pool. SSCs eventually differentiate to produce sperm. However, in an in vitro culture system, SSCs can be induced to differentiate into various types of germ cells. Rodent SSCs are well defined, and a culture system has been successfully established for them. In contrast, available information on the biomolecular markers and a culture system for livestock SSCs is limited. This review summarizes the existing knowledge and research progress regarding mammalian SSCs to determine the mammalian spermatogenic process, the biology and niche of SSCs, the isolation and culture systems of SSCs, and the biomolecular markers and identification of SSCs. This information can be used for the effective utilization of SSCs in reproductive technologies for large livestock animals, enhancement of human male fertility, reproductive medicine, and protection of endangered species.

Keywords: culture; identification; isolation; male germline stem cell; spermatogonial stem cell; transplantation

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