Germline Stem Cells
Germline stem cells are isolated from the most protected stem cell niche in the body, and therefore retain the most conserved, highest quality DNA generated by an organism. Germline stem cells have an interest in potential therapeutic applications due to this cell’s unique genetic integrity. The genomic quality of germline stem cells is highly regulated as compared to every other cell within the body because of the necessity to preserve the genome of the cell, which will ultimately form new offspring. Following extraction from the body and placed in cell culture, the cells retain their multipotent ability and have the capacity to form cells from all three germ layers.
Germline stem cells have medical, agricultural, toxicological and pharmaceutical applications. Medically, they can be used for treatment of male and female infertility. In addition, multipotent germline stem cells (MGS) can be differentiated to other cell types and can be considered as an alternative cell source for cell replacement therapy and tissue regeneration. Functional cardiomyocytes and nerve trunks with dopaminergic characteristics have been produced in our lab using mouse and primate male germline stem cells. They can also be used for toxicity testing and pharmaceutical applications. For example, the effect of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormones on reproductive capacity can be tested. They are also ideal model for drug development specifically drugs that promote or inhibit reproductive capacity. Germline stem cells have been used to produce transgenic animal for both agricultural and pharmaceutical reasons.
Germ cells have been known widely in the male and just recently have been characterized in the female. The hypothesis of active germline stem cells in the ovary is debated, as many scientists retain the theory that a female is born with all the follicles she needs. PrimeGen had found that OCT-4 positive germ stem cells to exist in the ovary, however their functionality requires more experimentation.