Research Article| Volume 12, ISSUE 3, P326-331, 2010

Directional differentiation of chicken spermatogonial stem cells in vitro



      Mammalian spermatogonial stem cells (SSC) are able to differentiate into different cell types in vitro, which are valuable sources for regenerative medicine and gene transfer studies. We investigated the differentiation potential of chicken SSC into osteoblasts, neuron-like cells and adipocytes in vitro.


      Chicken SSC from the testes of 18- and 20-day-old chicken embryos were cultured in different induction media for three passages in vitro. For differentiation into osteoblasts, SSC were cultured in Dulbecco's modified Eagle medium (DMEM) supplemented with 1 × 10−4 µmol/mL desamethasone, 10 µmol/mL (β-sodium glycerophosphate and 0.05 mg/mL vitamin C, and examined by microscopy after Von Kossa's, cytochemical and immunohistochemical staining. For differentiation into neuron-like cells, SSC were cultured in DMEM supplemented with 1 × 10−3 µmol/mL retinoic acid (RA), 5.0 µmol/mL 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine (IBMX) and examined by microscopy after toluidine blue or immunohistochemical staining. For differentiation into adipocytes, SSC were cultured in DMEM supplemented with 1 × 10−3 µmol/mL dexamethasone, 0.01 mg/mL insulin, 0.5 µmol/mL IBMX and examined by microscopy after Oil red O staining and reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for gene expression of peroxisome proliferation activation receptor-γ (PPAR-γ).


      After 15 and 21 days of culture in the induction medium for osteoblast differentiation, 75% and 80% chicken SSC differentiated into osteoblasts, as confirmed by Von Kossa's, calcium-cobalt and collagen I antibody staining. After 3 and 7 days of culture in the induction medium for neuron-like cell differentiation, 78% and 85% SSC became neuron-like cells, as confirmed by staining with toluidine blue and the monoclonal antibody against neuron-specific enolase, nestin and glial fibrillary acidic protein. After 7 days of culture in the induction for adipocyte differentiation, 85% SSC differentiated into adipocytes, as confirmed by Oil red O staining and RT-PCT for PPAR-γ gene expression.


      Our results show that chicken SSC can differentiate into osteoblasts, neuron-like cells and adipocytes under similar conditions as for directional differentiation of mammalian SSC in vitro. The findings show the feasibility of using SSC-derived cells for developmental biology and gene transfer studies in chickens.

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