Male and female germline development during sexual differentiation differs significantly. While in the testicular microenvironment primordial germ cells differentiate into a stem cell, the spermatogonium, the female pathway leads to the establishment of a limited pool of oocytes arrested in prophase of meiosis. Recently, exciting research has improved the understanding of pathways involved in germ cell differentiation and maintenance of pluripotency. In vitro and in situ manipulation will offer novel approaches to create germ cells from pluripotent precursors. The existence of spermatogonial stem cells in the testis offers clinically relevant options for preservation and restoration of male fertility. We have developed approaches to infuse germ cells into rodent and primate testes and showed that germ cell transplantation and testicular grafting are procedures to generate sperm. The rapid progress in the development of novel experimental strategies encourages cryopreservation of gonadal cells and tissues.
03 - 07 May 2008
European Society of Endocrinology