Spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs), having yet to possess decisive markers, can only be detected retrospectively by transplantation assay. It was reported recently that mouse gonocytes collected from DBA/2 and ICR neonates propagated in vitro. This cultured germ cell, named the germline stem cell (GS cell), produced functional sperm to make progeny when transplanted into recipient mouse testes. Here we show that GS cell lines can be established not only from neonatal testes but also from the testis of adult mice. We also confirmed that GS cells once transplanted into a host testis can be recovered to resume in vitro expansion, indicating that they are convertible mutually with SSCs in adult testes. Confocal laser microscopic examination showed GS cells resemble undifferentiated spermatogonia in the adult testis. This unique cell line could be useful for research in germ cell biology and applicable as a new tool for the genetic engineering of animals.
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