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Putative human male germ cells from bone marrow stem cells.

Drusenheimer N1, Wulf GNolte JLee JHDev ADressel RGromoll JSchmidtke JEngel WNayernia K.

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Abstract

Germ cells must develop along distinct male or female paths to produce the spermatozoa or oocyte required for sexual reproduction. Male germline stem cells maintain spermatogenesis in the postnatal human testis. Here we show that a small population of bone marrow cells is able to transdifferentiate to male germ cell-like cells. We show expression of early germ cell markers (Oct4, Fragilis, Stella and Vasa) and male germ cell specific markers (Dazl, TSPY, Piwil2 and Stra8) in these cells. Our preliminary findings provide direct evidence that human bone marrow cells can differentiate to putative male germ cells and identify bone marrow as a potential source of male germ cells that could sustain sperm production.