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Stem Cells International
Volume 2016, Article ID 5796305, 8 pages
Research Article

Chemokine (C-X-C) Ligand 12 Facilitates Trafficking of Donor Spermatogonial Stem Cells

1Department of Animal Biology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA
2Department of Medical Genetics, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA

Received 14 October 2015; Accepted 29 December 2015

Academic Editor: Bernard A. J. Roelen

Copyright © 2016 Zhiyv Niu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The chemokine (C-X-C) receptor type 4 (CXCR4) is an early marker of primordial germ cells (PGCs) essential for their migration and colonization of the gonads. In spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs), the expression of CXCR4 is promoted by the self-renewal factor, glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF). Here, we demonstrate an important role of CXCR4 during donor mouse SSCs reoccupation of the endogenous niche in recipient testis. Silencing of CXCR4 expression in mouse SSCs dramatically reduced the number of donor stem cell-derived colonies, whereas colony morphology and spermatogenesis were comparable to controls. Inhibition of CXCR4 signaling using a small molecule inhibitor (AMD3100) during the critical window of homing also significantly lowered the efficiency of donor-derived SSCs to establish spermatogenic colonies in recipient mice; however, the self-renewal of SSCs was not affected by exposure to AMD3100. Rather, in vitro migration assays demonstrate the influence of CXCR4-CXCL12 signaling in promoting germ cell migration. Together, these studies suggest that CXCR4-CXCL12 signaling functions to promote homing of SSCs towards the stem cell niche and plays a critical role in reestablishing spermatogenesis.