Primate Primordial Germ Cells Acquire Transplantation Potential by Carnegie Stage 23

Stem Cell Reports. 2017 Jul 11;9(1):329-341. doi: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2017.05.002. Epub 2017 Jun 1.


Primordial germ cells (PGCs) are the earliest embryonic progenitors in the germline. Correct formation of PGCs is critical to reproductive health as an adult. Recent work has shown that primate PGCs can be differentiated from pluripotent stem cells; however, a bioassay that supports their identity as transplantable germ cells has not been reported. Here, we adopted a xenotransplantation assay by transplanting single-cell suspensions of human and nonhuman primate embryonic Macaca mulatta (rhesus macaque) testes containing PGCs into the seminiferous tubules of adult busulfan-treated nude mice. We discovered that both human and nonhuman primate embryonic testis are xenotransplantable, generating colonies while not generating tumors. Taken together, this work provides two critical references (molecular and functional) for defining transplantable primate PGCs. These results provide a blueprint for differentiating pluripotent stem cells to transplantable PGC-like cells in a species that is amenable to transplantation and fertility studies.

Keywords: PGC; primordial-germ-cell; transplant; xenotransplant.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Busulfan / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Germ Cells / transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Mice, Nude
  • Seminiferous Tubules / surgery*
  • Testis / embryology*
  • Testis / transplantation*
  • Transplantation, Heterologous / methods


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Busulfan