Brief Report: Evaluating the Potential of Putative Pluripotent Cells Derived from Human Testis§

Authors

  • Kinarm Ko,

    1. Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine, Münster, Germany
    2. Center for Stem Cell Research, Institute of Biomedical Science and Technology, Konkuk University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
    3. Department of Neuroscience, School of Medicine, Konkuk University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
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  • Peter Reinhardt,

    1. Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine, Münster, Germany
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  • Natalia Tapia,

    1. Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine, Münster, Germany
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  • Rebekka K. Schneider,

    1. Institute of Pathology, University Hospital, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany
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  • Marcos J. Araúzo-Bravo,

    1. Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine, Münster, Germany
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  • Dong Wook Han,

    1. Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine, Münster, Germany
    2. Department of Stem Cell Biology, SMART Institute of Advanced Biomedical Science, Konkuk University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
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  • Boris Greber,

    1. Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine, Münster, Germany
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  • Julee Kim,

    1. Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine, Münster, Germany
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  • Sabine Kliesch,

    1. Department of Clinical Andrology, Centre for Reproductive Medicine and Andrology, University of Münster, Münster, Germany
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  • Martin Zenke,

    1. Department of Cell Biology, Institute for Biomedical Engineering, Medical School, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany
    2. Helmholtz Institute for Biomedical Engineering, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany
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  • Hans R. Schöler

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine, Münster, Germany
    2. Faculty of Medicine, University of Münster, Münster, Germany
    • Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine, Röntgenstraße 20, 48149 Münster, Germany
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    • Ph: 49-251-70365-300; Fax: 49-251-70365-399


  • Author contributions: K.K.: conception and design, collection and assembly of data, data analysis and interpretation and manuscript writing; P.R., R.K.S., M.J.A.-B., D.W.H., B.G., and J.K.: collection and assembly of data; N.T.: conception and design, data analysis and interpretation, and manuscript writing; S.K.: provision of study material or patient biopsies; M.Z.: data analysis and interpretation; H.R.S.: conception and design, data analysis and interpretation, manuscript writing, and final manuscript approval. K.K., P.R., and N.T. contributed equally to this work.

  • Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest is found at the end of this article.

  • §

    First published online in STEM CELLS EXPRESS June 7, 2011.

Abstract

Human adult germline stem cells (haGSCs) were established from human testicular biopsies and were claimed to be pluripotent. Recently, the gene expression profile of haGSCs demonstrated that these cells presented with a fibroblast rather than a pluripotent identity. Nevertheless, haGSCs were reported to generate teratomas. In this report, we address this discrepancy. Instead of using haGSCs, which are no longer available for the stem cell community, we used a human testicular fibroblastic cell (hTFC) line that presents with a gene expression profile highly similar to that of haGSCs. Indeed, as shown by microarray analysis, the similarity between hTFCs and haGSCs is comparable to human embryonic stem cell (hESC) lines derived by different laboratories. We argue that the almost identical gene expression profile of hTFCs and haGSCs should result in a very similar if not identical differentiation potential. Strikingly, hTFCs were not able to generate teratomas after injection into nude mice. Instead, they formed a mesenchymal lesion that morphologically resembled the putative haGSC-derived teratomas reported previously. We conclude that haGSCs, which exhibit a profile similar to that of fibroblasts and could not generate teratomas, are not pluripotent. Future work will have to show if pluripotent cells can be derived from human testicular biopsies. Mouse work and certain testicular germ cell tumors indicate that this will be possible. STEM CELLS 2011;29:1304–1309

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