Adaptation of Human Testicular Niche Cells for Pluripotent Stem Cell and Testis Development Research

Marina V. Pryzhkova, Philip W. Jordan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background:: Human testicular cells are greatly valuable to the research community as tools for studying testicular physiology and the effects of environmental pollutants. Because adult testicular cells have a limited self-organization capacity and life span, we investigated whether human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) can be used together with testicular cells to move a step closer toward making an optimal model of the human testis. Methods:: We used in vitro culture of donor testicular cells under serum-containing and chemically defined conditions. CRISPR-Cas9 technology was applied to introduce fluorescent transgenes (mCherry2 and EGFP) into hPSCs and testicular cells. hPSC-derived spheroids were co-cultured with human testicular cells in mini-spin bioreactors. Results:: Traditional cell culture conditions used for maintenance of testicular somatic cells generally contain serum and pose limitations on evaluating the role of active molecules on cell functions. We established that chemically defined culture conditions can be used to maintain testicular cells without the loss of proliferative activity. These cultures demonstrate marker expression which is characteristic of common testicular cell types: Sertoli, Leydig, endothelial, myoid cells, and macrophages. In order to model testicular physiology, it is important to be able to perform live cell microscopy. Thus, we generated fluorescent protein-expressing human testicular cells and hPSCs and demonstrated that these cell types can be successfully co-cultured for prolonged periods of time in a three-dimensional microenvironment. Conclusion:: Our research extends the possible applications of human testis-derived somatic cells and shows that they can be used together with hPSCs for further studies of human male reproductive biology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-235
Number of pages13
JournalTissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • Genetic modification
  • Human pluripotent stem cells
  • Human testicular cells
  • Mini-spin bioreactor
  • Organoids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomedical Engineering


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