Differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells into gonad and adrenal steroidogenic cells

World J Stem Cells. 2014 Apr 26;6(2):203-12. doi: 10.4252/wjsc.v6.i2.203.


Hormone replacement therapy is necessary for patients with adrenal and gonadal failure. Steroid hormone treatment is also employed in aging people for sex hormone deficiency. These patients undergo such therapies, which have associated risks, for their entire life. Stem cells represent an innovative tool for tissue regeneration and the possibility of solving these problems. Among various stem cell types, mesenchymal stem cells have the potential to differentiate into steroidogenic cells both in vivo and in vitro. In particular, they can effectively be differentiated into steroidogenic cells by expressing nuclear receptor 5A subfamily proteins (steroidogenic factor-1 and liver receptor homolog-1) with the aid of cAMP. This approach will provide a source of cells for future regenerative medicine for the treatment of diseases caused by steroidogenesis deficiencies. It can also represent a useful tool for studying the molecular mechanisms of steroidogenesis and its related diseases.

Keywords: Adrenal; Differentiation; Gonad; Liver receptor homolog-1; Mesenchymal stem cells; Steroid hormone; Steroidogenic factor-1.

Publication types

  • Review