Journal of the European Society for Gynaecological Endoscopy


Spermatogonial stem cells: What does the future hold?

H. Tournaye, E. Goossens

Research unit Biology of the Testis; Department of Embryology and Genetics; Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Laarbeeklaan 101, B-1090 Brussels, Belgium.

Correspondence at:


Testis, stem cell, spermatogenesis, fertility preservation, regenerative medicine.

Published online: Apr 11 2011


Spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) are responsible for the preservation of spermatogenesis throughout a man’s adult reproductive life. Like other stem cells in the body, SSCs can either self-renew or differentiate. Recent research has shown that SSCs can be considered as multipotent stem cells which can differentiate into cell types other than exclusively gametes. SSC proliferation is a well regulated mechanism and is mainly orchestrated by the Sertoli cells. In the future, SSCs may offer clinically relevant options for preservation and re-establishment of the reproductive potential in patients suffering from spermatogonial stem cell loss, i.e. after gonadotoxic treatments for cancer or haematological diseases.

However, one day, differentiation in-vitro of SSCs may also become an important strategy in other fields of regenerative medicine.