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Artificial sperm made from stem cells used to make rat offspring

Rat sperm cells derived from laboratory stem cells were used to fertilize eggs and produce healthy offspring for the first time in procedures that could be used for preservation.


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April 7, 2022

Artificially produced sperm were used to produce these rat pups

Dr. Toshihiro Kobayashi, IMSUT / NIPS

Rat sperm cells produced from stem cells in the laboratory were used for the first time to produce fertile offspring. This approach can be adapted to rescue endangered rodents and may help inform the artificial production of human sperm to treat infertility. ..

Until now, cells that produce sperm and egg cells, called germ cells, have been produced only in the laboratory. With mouse..

Toshihiro Kobayashi The University of Tokyo and his colleagues have shown that stem cells extracted from rat embryos can be grown in the laboratory to produce germ cells that form sperm when transplanted into the rat testis.

The researchers then collected sperm cells, injected them into egg cells, and then transplanted the fertilized embryos into female rats. These have grown into healthy adult rats that were able to have their own offspring.

“Until recently, we didn’t know enough about how rat germ cells develop to adapt mouse procedures to rats. Now, with the proteins needed to produce rat germ cells. I was able to do this because I had a better understanding of growth factors, “says Kobayashi.

Next, the team wants to clarify a common principle of sperm production shared between rats and mice. This could help develop similar techniques in other mammals such as pigs and humans, Kobayashi says. Such studies can then be used to gain insight into how human germ cells develop and what goes wrong to cause infertility, he says. .. The team is also working on artificially producing rat egg cells.

However, rats and mice are more similar than humans, and artificial production of human sperm and eggs may be decades away.

“Human and non-human primates have different modes [germ cell development] And a much longer development timeline. Therefore, it may not always be easy to generalize the results to other species. ” Kotaro Sasaki At the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

Embryonic stem cells cannot be harvested from adult males, so similar approaches cannot be used directly to produce human sperm for the treatment of infertility.Instead, a more promising approach involves becoming an adult skin Also Ovary cells For stem cells that can be used to produce sperm and eggs.

Journal reference: Chemistry, DOI: 10.1126 / science.abl4412

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Artificial sperm made from stem cells used to make rat offspring

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