(2nd May, 2014); Team of researchers from Montana State University showing that skin cells from infertile man can be used to create, primary germ cells - precursors of sperm. This research is providing ray of hope for future treatment of male infertility.
Dr. Renee Reijo-Pera and her team took iPSC (induced pluripotent stem cells) lines from dermal fibroblasts of infertile men who were having genetic disorders known as SCO disorder or Azoospermia, a medical condition of a man not having any measurable level of sperm in his semen. Like stem cells, iPSC also have ability to transform as any other cell. Then they implanted the stem cells into the testes of mice where they produced the precursors to sperm. It was the first time such work has ever been done.
The research was carried out at Stanford University, but the paper was written at MSU by senior author Renee Reijo-Pera, vice president for research in MSU. They published their work in Cell Journal.
The success of the stem cells in forming the precursors to sperm in the mice offer scientists a new way to study the causes of, and possible treatments for, male infertility. The findings hold promise that one day infertile men could have their own cells implanted in their testes as a treatment for infertility. Reijo-Pera and the paper’s other authors caution that such a treatment would require much further research before being clinically viable.
Reijo-Pera said, “Infertility is remarkably common, affecting 10 to 15 percent of couples. And the genetic causes of infertility are surprisingly prevalent among men. So progress in this area could potentially help thousands, if not millions, of couples around the world.”