International journal of molecular sciences

Isolation and Culture of Pig Spermatogonial Stem Cells and Their in Vitro Differentiation into Neuron-Like Cells and Adipocytes.

PMID 26556335


Spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) renew themselves throughout the life of an organism and also differentiate into sperm in the adult. They are multipopent and therefore, can be induced to differentiate into many cells types in vitro. SSCs from pigs, considered an ideal animal model, are used in studies of male infertility, regenerative medicine, and preparation of transgenic animals. Here, we report on a culture system for porcine SSCs and the differentiation of these cells into neuron-like cells and adipocytes. SSCs and Sertoli cells were isolated from neonatal piglet testis by differential adhesion and SSCs were cultured on a feeder layer of Sertoli cells. Third-generation SSCs were induced to differentiate into neuron-like cells by addition of retinoic acid, β-mercaptoethanol, and 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine (IBMX) to the induction media and into adipocytes by the addition of hexadecadrol, insulin, and IBMX to the induction media. The differentiated cells were characterized by biochemical staining, qRT-PCR, and immunocytochemistry. The cells were positive for SSC markers, including alkaline phosphatase and SSC-specific genes, consistent with the cells being undifferentiated. The isolated SSCs survived on the Sertoli cells for 15 generations. Karyotyping confirmed that the chromosomal number of the SSCs were normal for pig (2n = 38, n = 19). Pig SSCs were successfully induced into neuron-like cells eight days after induction and into adipocytes 22 days after induction as determined by biochemical and immunocytochemical staining. qPCR results also support this conclusion. The nervous tissue markers genes, Nestin and β-tubulin, were expressed in the neuron-like cells and the adipocyte marker genes, PPARγ and C/EBPα, were expressed in the adipocytes.