Objectives:  The aim of the present study was to improve efficiency of isolation and to optimize proliferative potential of human spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) obtained from obstructive azoospermic (OA) and non-obstructive azoospermic (NOA) patients, and further, to characterize these cells for potential use in infertility treatment or study of reproductive biology.

Materials and methods:  We have applied a cell-sorting method, using collagen and magnetic activated cell separation to overcome obstacles, developing a collection system, and simple long-term proliferation system, that yields large numbers of high-purity SSCs from obstructive OA and NOA patients.

Results:  SSCs derived from OA and NOA patients proliferated and maintained their characteristics for more than 12 passages (>6 months) in vitro. Moreover, the population of cells positive for the SSC-specific markers GFRα-1 and integrin α6, increased to more than 80% at passage 8.

Conclusion:  These finding may support the idea that in vitro propagation of SSCs could be a useful tool for infertility treatment and study of reproductive biology.