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Stem Cells International
Volume 2016, Article ID 8216312, 13 pages
Research Article

Derivation of Pluripotent Cells from Mouse SSCs Seems to Be Age Dependent

1Institute for Anatomy and Cell Biology, Medical Faculty, University of Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 307, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
2Department of Stem Cells and Developmental Biology at the Cell Science Research Center, Royan Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Technology, P.O. Box 19395, Tehran 4644, Iran
3Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Amol University of Special Modern Technologies, P.O. Box 49767, Amol 49767, Iran
4P.O. Box 12 43, 72072 Tübingen, Germany
5Division of Signal Transduction and Growth Control, DKFZ/ZMBH Alliance, Heidelberg, Germany
6Department of Biology, Faculty of Basic Sciences, University of Mazandaran, Babolsar, Iran
7Department of Developmental Biology, University of Science and Culture, ACECR, Tehran, Iran

Received 20 May 2015; Revised 25 July 2015; Accepted 27 July 2015

Academic Editor: Mariusz Z. Ratajczak

Copyright © 2016 Hossein Azizi 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.


Here, we aimed to answer important and fundamental questions in germ cell biology with special focus on the age of the male donor cells and the possibility to generate embryonic stem cell- (ESC-) like cells. While it is believed that spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) and truly pluripotent ESC-like cells can be isolated from adult mice, it remained unknown if the spontaneous conversion of SSCs to ESC-like cells fails at some age. Similarly, there have been differences in the literature about the duration of cultures during which ESC-like cells may appear. We demonstrate the possibility to derive ESC-like cells from SSC cultures until they reach adolescence or up to 7 weeks of age, but we point out the impossibility to derive these cells from older, mature adult mice. The inability of real adult SSCs to shift to a pluripotent state coincides with a decline in expression of the core pluripotency genes Oct4, Nanog, and Sox2 in SSCs with age. At the same time genes of the spermatogonial differentiation pathway increase. The generated ESC-like cells were similar to ESCs and express pluripotency markers. In vitro they differentiate into all three germ lineages; they form complex teratomas after transplantation in SCID mice and produce chimeric mice.