It may be possible to create tissue useful in reconstructive urology.
Adult spermatogonial stem cells keep their pluripotency and plasticity throughout their lives, according to researchers. After successful differentiation of human spermatogonial stem cells from testicular parenchyma, it may be possible to develop an individual cell-based therapy.
Tissue created from testicular stem cells might be useful in reconstructive urology, said Arnulf Stenzl, MD, professor and chairman of urology of the University of Tübingen in Germany. The prospect of using spermatogonial stem cells is promising because these cells do not involve
the ethical problems associated with human embryonic stem cells. In addition, they do not create the im-munologic problems that arise with transplantation of allografts.
“These are early results but they open up a completely new horizon,” Dr. Stenzl said. “What we have shown here is only a small fragment of what is possible. In urology, you think about muscle cells and sphincter muscles and lower urinary tract reconstruction. There is a possibility of getting cells to differentiate into sphincter muscle cells for treating incontinence. The more complicated approaches may involve lower urinary tract reconstruction.”
Dr. Stenzl and his colleagues collected regular testicular parenchyma from orchiectomy specimens. After culturing, testicular parenchyma cells formed clusters that contained spermatogonial stem cells. The researchers found that these cells can be cultured so they differentiate into pancreatic, bone, smooth muscle, and nerve cells. These findings were confirmed by polymerase chain reaction, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and immunohistochemistry. More research will continue to elaborate on these findings.