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Nat Protoc. 2013 Nov;8(11):2098-104. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2013.138. Epub 2013 Oct 3.

In vitro sperm production from mouse spermatogonial stem cell lines using an organ culture method.

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Laboratory of Proteomics, Institute of Molecular Medicine and Life Science, Yokohama City University Association of Medical Science, Yokohama, Japan.


The in vitro propagation of mouse spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) became possible in 2003; these cultured SSCs were named germ-line stem (GS) cells. To date, however, it has not been possible to induce spermatogenesis from GS cells in vitro. Recently, we succeeded in producing functional sperm from primitive spermatogonia in explanted neonatal mouse testis tissues. Here we describe a protocol that can support spermatogenesis from GS cells up to sperm formation in vitro using an organ culture method. GS cells transplanted in the extracted testis form colonies in the tissue fragments and differentiate into sperm under the described in vitro organ culture conditions. It takes about 6 weeks to obtain sperm from GS cells. The sperm are viable, resulting in healthy offspring through micro-insemination. Thus, this protocol should be a valuable tool for the study of mammalian spermatogenesis.

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