Testicular maturation and sperm production throughout the life of the male form the basis of male fertility. It is difficult to elucidate the intricate processes controlling testicular maturation and spermatogenesis in primates in vivo due to the long time span required for sexual maturation and also to the lack of accessible in vitro or in vivo models of primate spermatogenesis. Ectopic xenografting of neonatal testis tissue into mice provides an accessible model to study and manipulate the propagation and differentiation of male germ cells from immature donor animals. However, it was not clear whether this approach would be applicable to slowly maturing primates. Here we report that grafting of testis tissue from immature rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) into host mice resulted in the acceleration of testicular maturation and production of fertilization-competent sperm in testis xenografts. The system reported here provides a powerful, practical approach to study timing and control of testicular maturation and regulation of primate spermatogenesis without the necessity for experimentation in primates. This approach could potentially be applied to produce fertile sperm from sexually immature individuals of rare or valuable primate species or from prepubertal boys undergoing sterilizing therapy for cancer.
- Assisted reproductive technology
- Pituitary hormones
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology
- Developmental Biology