Testicular cell transplantation into the human testes

Human cadaver testes were infused with 99mtechnetium-labeled green fluorescent protein-positive testicular cells. This study shows that injecting a cell suspension in seminiferous tubules is possible, though further optimization is required.

Katrien Faes, Herman Tournaye, Ph.D., M.D., Lode Goethals, M.D., Tony Lahoutte, Ph.D., M.D., Anne Hoorens, Ph.D., M.D., Ellen Goossens, Ph.D.

Volume 100, Issue 4, Pages 981-988.e4, October 2013


To translate spermatogonial stem cell (SSC) transplantation towards a clinical application.

Mouse green fluorescent protein (GFP)-positive testicular cells were labeled with 99mtechnetium and microbubbles. These labeled cells were injected into the rete testis of isolated human testes under ultrasound guidance. Three different conditions were tested: 1) 800 μL of a 20 million cells/mL suspension; 2) 800 μL of a 10 million cells/mL suspension; and 3) 1,400 μL of a 10 million cells/mL suspension. After injection, the human cadaver testes were analyzed with the use of single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) imaging and histology.

Laboratory research environment.

Cadaver testes, obtained from autopsies at the pathology department.

Ultrasound-guided injection of mouse GFP-positive testicular cells.

Main Outcome Measure(s):
Presence of radioactive-labeled cells in the human cadaver testes and GFP-positive cells in the seminiferous tubules.

In all of the experimental groups, GFP-positive cells were observed in the seminiferous tubules, near and far from the rete testis, but also in the interstitium. On SPECT, significant difference was seen between the group injected with 800 μL of a 20 million cells/mL suspension (1,654.6 ± 907.6 mm³) and the group injected with 1,400μL of a 10 million cells/mL suspension (3,614.9 ± 723.1 mm³). No significant difference was reached in the group injected with 800 μL of a 10 million cells/mL suspension.

Injecting cells in the human cadaver testis is feasible, but further optimization is required.

  • Michael Eisenberg

    Preliminary work that spermatogonial stem cells can be injected into human testes. There is data with functional endpoints in nonhuman primates in the literature but this represents an exciting step in humans.

  • This article demonstrates proof of concept for the ability to inject cells into the human cadaver testes. This is an important start as we try to move towards autologous SCC into post pubertal boys/men after completion of radiation or chemotherapy. Excellent work. Look forward to future studies.

Translate »