Adult somatic cells to the rescue Nuclear reprogramming and the dispensability of gonadal germ cells

Capsule:
Men and women who are genetically fertile can become infertile due to several extrinsic factors. Patient-specific pluripotent stem cells represent one potential cure for these non-genetic forms of infertility.

Authors:
Charles Allen Easley, Ph.D., David R. Latov, Calvin R. Simerly, Ph.D., Gerald P. Schatten, Ph.D.

Volume 101, Issue 1, Pages 14-19, January 2014

Abstract:

With advances in cancer therapies, survival rates in prepubescent patients have steadily increased. However, a number of these surviving patients have been rendered sterile owing to their rigorous oncologic treatment regimens. In addition to cancer treatments, men and women, who are genetically fertile, can become infertile owing to immune suppression treatments, exposure to environmental and industrial toxicants, and injury. Notwithstanding the great emotional burden from an inability to conceive a child with their partner, the financial burdens for testing and treatment are high, and successful treatment of these patients’ sterility is rare. Recent advances in pluripotent stem cell differentiation and the generation of patient-specific, induced pluripotent stem cells indicate that stem cell replacement therapies or in vitro differentiation followed by IVF may be on the horizon. Here we discuss these recent advances, their relevance to treating male-factor and female-factor infertility, and what experimental procedures must be carried out in animal models before these exciting new treatments can be used in a clinical setting. The goal of this research is to generate functional gametes from no greater starting material than a mere skin biopsy.

  • Jose Medrano

    I´d like to acknowledge the authors for this reader-friendly review of a complex topic such as fertility preservation and recovery.

    Actually, one question raised while reading it: In their review, authors correctly state that SSCs would need a intact niche on the basal layer of seminiferous tubules for their proper re-colonization. However, as far as I know, most of the fertility preservation programs worldwide are focused in the delay of the auto-transplant many years after the testicular biopsy once the pre-puberal oncologic patients reach adulthood and demand it. I would like to know what do authors think about how this delay in the auto-transplant could affect the integrity of the spermatogenic empty niche.

    Thanks.

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