The involvement of bioactive factors in the self-renewal and stemness maintenance of spermatogonial stem cells

Abstract

Spermatogenesis is usually accompanied throughout mammalian lifetime, transmitting genetic information to the next generation, which is mainly dependent on the self-renewal and differentiation of spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs). With further investigation on profiles of SSCs, the previous prevailing orthodoxy that SSCs are unipotent stem cells to differentiate into spermatids only, has been challenged. More notably, accumulating evidence has demonstrated that SSCs are capable of giving rise to cell lineages of the three germ layers, highlighting potential important applications of SSCs for regenerative medicine. Nevertheless, it is unknown how the proliferation and stemness maintenance of SSCs are regulated intrinsically and strictly controlled in a special niche microenvironment in the seminiferous tubules. Based on the special niche microenvironment for SSCs, it is of vital interest to summarize the recent knowledge regarding several critical bioactive molecules in the self-renewal and stemness maintenance of SSCs. In this review, we discuss most recent findings about these critical bioactive factors and further address the new advances on the self-renewal and stemness maintenance of SSCs.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation Item of China (No. 81371411 81830077, 81772357 and 82071551), Natural Science Foundation of Shaanxi Province (2020JM-686), and Xi’an Science and Technology Research Project (2019114913YX004SF037(3)).

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GQY and YQH were responsible for preliminary draft and references. HY was responsible for the overall planning and design of review and paper revision. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Hao Yang.

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Yang, G., He, Y. & Yang, H. The involvement of bioactive factors in the self-renewal and stemness maintenance of spermatogonial stem cells. Mol Cell Biochem (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11010-020-04028-7

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Keywords

  • Spermatogonial stem cells
  • Self-renewal
  • Stemness maintenance
  • Bioactive factors