Presentation Authors: TETSUHIRO YOKONISHI*, BLANCHE CAPEL, Durham, NC
Introduction: Sertoli cells proliferate and construct seminiferous tubules during fetal life, then undergo differentiation in prepubertal testes. In adult testes, differentiated matured Sertoli cells maintain spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) and support spermatogenesis during the entire lifetime. Recently we established drug-induced Sertoli cell ablation method. In this study, we transplanted mouse fetal testicular cells into Sertoli-depleted adult testis to determine whether fetal Sertoli cells differentiate to functional mature Sertoli cells in adult testis.
Methods: Seven days after drug treatment, Sertoli cells and SSCs were depleted, but testis cord structure remained intact (Fig. 1). Testicular cells from an Embryonic day (E) 12.5, 14.5 and 16.5 CAG-GFP fetus were transplanted into a Sertoli-ablated testis 7 days post drug treatment (Fig. 2A). Two months after transplantation, host testes were fixed for immunohistochemistry.
Results: Donor E12.5, 14.5 and 16.5 Sertoli cells colonized adult seminiferous tubules and supported host spermatogenesis two months after transplantation , proving that immature fetal Sertoli cells can undergo maturation to support spermatogenesis in the adult testis (Figure 2B).
Conclusions: This is the first evidence of fetal Sertoli cell colonization and maturation in adult testis. This technique will be useful to analyze the developmental process of Sertoli cell maturation, and to investigate the potential of iPS-derived Sertoli cells to colonize and undergo maturation within the testis environment.
Source of Funding: Japan society for the promotion of science