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Sci Rep. 2015 Sep 8;5:13822. doi: 10.1038/srep13822.

Differentiation of early germ cells from human skin-derived stem cells without exogenous gene integration.

Ge W1,2, Ma HG3, Cheng SF1,2, Sun YC1,2, Sun LL3, Sun XF1,4, Li L1,2, Dyce P4, Li J4, Shi QH5,6, Shen W1,2.

Author information

Institute of Reproductive Sciences, Qingdao Agricultural University, Qingdao, Shandong 266109, China.
Key Laboratory of Animal Reproduction and Germplasm Enhancement in Universities of Shandong, College of Animal Science and Technology, Qingdao Agricultural University, Qingdao, Shandong 266109, China.
Reproductive Center, Weifang City People's Hospital, Weifang, Shandong 261041, China.
Department of Animal and Poultry Science, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario N1G2W, Canada.
Molecular and Cell Genetics Laboratory, The CAS Key Laboratory of Innate Immunity and Chronic Disease, Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences at Microscale, School of Life Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, Anhui 230027, China.
Collaborative Innovation Center of Genetics and Development, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China.


Infertility has long been a difficult issue for many couples. The successful differentiation of germ cells and live progeny from pluripotent stem cells brings new hope to the couples suffering with infertility. Here we successfully isolated human fetus skin-derived stem cells (hfSDSCs) from fetus skin tissue and demonstrated that hfSDSCs can be differentiated into early human germ cell-like cells (hGCLCs). These cells express human germ cell markers DAZL and VASA. Moreover, these pluripotent stem cell-derived hGCLCs are free of exogenous gene integration. When hfSDSCs were differentiated in porcine follicle fluid (PFF) conditioned media, which has been shown to promote the differentiation of mouse and porcine SDSCs into oocyte-like cells (OLCs), we observed some vesicular structures formed from hfSDSCs. Moreover, when hfSDSCs were cultured with specific conditioned media, we observed punctate and elongated SCP3 staining foci, indicating the initiation of meiosis. Ploidy analysis and fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis indicated that a small percentage of putative 1N populations formed from hfSDSCs when compared with positive controls. In conclusion, our data here, for the first time, demonstrated that hfSDSCs possess the differentiation potential into germ lines, and they may differentiate both male and female hGCLCs in vitro under appropriate conditions.

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