Contribution of Single-Cell Transcriptomics to the Characterization of Human Spermatogonial Stem Cells: Toward an Application in Male Fertility Regenerative Medicine?

Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Nov 16;20(22):5773. doi: 10.3390/ijms20225773.


Ongoing progress in genomic technologies offers exciting tools that can help to resolve transcriptome and genome-wide DNA modifications at single-cell resolution. These methods can be used to characterize individual cells within complex tissue organizations and to highlight various molecular interactions. Here, we will discuss recent advances in the definition of spermatogonial stem cells (SSC) and their progenitors in humans using the single-cell transcriptome sequencing (scRNAseq) approach. Exploration of gene expression patterns allows one to investigate stem cell heterogeneity. It leads to tracing the spermatogenic developmental process and its underlying biology, which is highly influenced by the microenvironment. scRNAseq already represents a new diagnostic tool for the personalized investigation of male infertility. One may hope that a better understanding of SSC biology could facilitate the use of these cells in the context of fertility preservation of prepubertal children, as a key component of regenerative medicine.

Keywords: fertility preservation; human; regenerative medicine; single-cell; spermatogonial stem cells; transcriptomic.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / diagnosis
  • Infertility, Male / therapy
  • Male
  • Regenerative Medicine*
  • Single-Cell Analysis
  • Spermatogenesis
  • Spermatogonia / cytology
  • Stem Cell Transplantation
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Transcriptome*