The Evolutionary Route of in vitro Human Spermatogenesis: What is the Next Destination?

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Gizer M., Önen S., KORKUSUZ P.

Stem Cell Reviews and Reports, 2024 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s12015-024-10726-2
  • Journal Name: Stem Cell Reviews and Reports
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, MEDLINE
  • Keywords: In vitro Spermatogenesis, Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells, Male Factor Infertility, Spermatogonial Stem Cells
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Malfunction in spermatogenesis due to genetic diseases, trauma, congenital disorders or gonadotoxic treatments results in infertility in approximately 7% of males. The behavior of spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) within three-dimensional, multifactorial, and dynamic microenvironment implicates a niche that serves as a repository for fertility, since can serve as a source of mature and functional male germ cells. Current protocols enable reprogramming of mature somatic cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and their limited differentiation to SSCs within the range of 0–5%. However, the resulting human iPSC-derived haploid spermatogenic germ cell yield in terms of number and functionality is currently insufficient for transfer to infertility clinic as a therapeutic tool. In this article, we reviewed the evolution of experimental culture platforms and introduced a novel iPSCs-based approach for in vitro spermatogenesis based on a niche perspective bearing cellular, chemical, and physical factors that provide the complex arrangement of testicular seminiferous tubules embedded within a vascularized stroma. We believe that bioengineered organoids supported by smart bio-printed tubules and microfluidic organ-on-a-chip systems offer efficient, precise, personalized platforms for autologous pluripotent stem cell sources to undergo the spermatogenetic cycle, presenting a promising tool for infertile male patients with complete testicular aplasia. Graphical Abstract: (Figure presented.).