Spermatogenesis Recovery Potentials after Transplantation of Adipose Tissue-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells Cultured with Growth Factors in Experimental Azoospermic Mouse Models

Document Type : Original Article


1 Cellular and Molecular Research Center, School of Medicine, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran

2 Physiology Research Center, School of Medicine, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran

3 Department of Medical Genetics, School of Medicine, Ahvaz University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran


Approximately 1% of the male population suffers from obstructive or non-obstructive azoospermia. Previous in vitro studies have successfully differentiated mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) into germ cells. Because of immune- modulating features, safety, and simple isolation, adipose tissue-derived MSCs (AT-MSCs) are good candidates for such studies. However, low availability is the main limitation in using these cells. Different growth factors have been investigated to overcome this issue. In the present study, we aimed to comparatively assess the performance of AT-MSCs cultured under the presence or absence of three different growth factors, epidermal growth factor (EGF), leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) and glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), following transplantation in testicular torsion-detorsion mice
Materials and Methods
This was an experimental study in which AT-MSCs were first isolated from male Naval Medical Research Institute (NMRI) mice. Then, the mice underwent testicular torsion-detorsion surgery and received bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU)-labeled AT-MSCs into the lumen of seminiferous tubules. The transplanted cells had been cultured in different conditioned media, containing the three growth factors and without them. The expression of germ cell-specific markers was evaluated with real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and western-blot. Moreover, immunohistochemical staining was used to trace the labeled cells.
The number of transplanted AT-MSCs resided in the basement membrane of seminiferous tubules significantly increased after 8 weeks. The expression levels of Gcnf and Mvh genes in the transplanted testicles by AT-MSCs cultured in the growth factors-supplemented medium was greater than those in the control group (P < 0.001 and P < 0.05, respectively). The expression levels of the c-Kit and Scp3 genes did not significantly differ from the control group.
Our findings showed that the use of EGF, LIF and GDNF to culture AT-MSCs can be very helpful in terms of MSC survival and localization.