Fractionation of Human Spermatogenic Cells Using STA-PUT Gravity Sedimentation and Their miRNA Profiling

Sci Rep. 2015 Jan 30;5:8084. doi: 10.1038/srep08084.


Human spermatogenic cells have not yet been isolated, and notably, their global miRNA profiles remain unknown. Here we have effectively isolated human spermatogonia, pachytene spermatocytes and round spermatids using STA-PUT velocity sedimentation. RT-PCR, immunocytochemistry and meiosis spread assays revealed that the purities of isolated human spermatogonia, pachytene spermatocytes, and round spermatids were 90%, and the viability of these isolated cells was over 98%. MiRNA microarrays showed distinct global miRNA profiles among human spermatogonia, pachytene spermatocytes, and round spermatids. Thirty-two miRNAs were significantly up-regulated whereas 78 miRNAs were down-regulated between human spermatogonia and pachytene spermatocytes, suggesting that these miRNAs are involved in the meiosis and mitosis, respectively. In total, 144 miRNAs were significantly up-regulated while 29 miRNAs were down-regulated between pachytene spermatocytes and round spermatids, reflecting potential roles of these miRNAs in mediating spermiogenesis. A number of novel binding targets of miRNAs were further identified using various softwares and verified by real-time PCR. Our ability of isolating human spermatogonia, pachytene spermatocytes and round spermatids and unveiling their distinct global miRNA signatures and novel targets could provide novel small RNA regulatory mechanisms mediating three phases of human spermatogenesis and offer new targets for the treatment of male infertility.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Fractionation / methods*
  • Cell Separation
  • Cell Shape
  • Centrifugation / methods*
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Gravitation*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Pachytene Stage
  • Phenotype
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Spermatids / cytology
  • Spermatids / metabolism
  • Spermatocytes / cytology
  • Spermatocytes / metabolism
  • Spermatogonia / cytology*
  • Spermatogonia / metabolism*
  • Young Adult


  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Messenger