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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 374151, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1100/2012/374151
Review Article

Possible Therapeutic Use of Spermatogonial Stem Cells in the Treatment of Male Infertility: A Brief Overview

Faculty of Medicine, University of Niš, 18000 Niš, Serbia

Received 31 October 2011; Accepted 7 December 2011

Academic Editors: B. Mannaerts and T. Otoi

Copyright © 2012 Slobodan Vlajković 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.

Abstract

Development of germ cells is a process starting in fetus and completed only in puberty. Spermatogonial stem cells maintain spermatogenesis throughout the reproductive life of mammals. They are undifferentiated cells defined by their ability to both self-renew and differentiate into mature spermatozoa. This self-renewal and differentiation in turn is tightly regulated by a combination of intrinsic gene expression as well as the extrinsic gene signals from the local tissue microenvironment. The human testis is prone to damage, either for therapeutic reasons or because of toxic agents from the environment. For preservation of fertility, patients who will undergo radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy have an attractive possibility to keep in store and afterwards make a transfer of spermatogonial stem cells. Germ cell transplantation is not yet ready for the human fertility clinic, but it may be reasonable for young cancer patients, with no other options to preserve their fertility. Whereas this technique has become an important research tool in rodents, a clinical application must still be regarded as experimental, and many aspects of the procedure need to be optimized prior to a clinical application in men. In future, a range of options for the preservation of male fertility will get a new significance.