Nature 456, 344-349 (20 November 2008) | doi:10.1038/nature07404; Received 1 February 2008; Accepted 18 September 2008; Published online 8 October 2008

There is a Corrigendum (20 August 2009) associated with this document.

There is a Brief Communication Arising (24 June 2010) associated with this document.

There is a Retraction (21 August 2014) associated with this document.

Generation of pluripotent stem cells from adult human testis

See associated Correspondence: Kirsch & Schöler, Nature 513, 172 (September 2014)

Sabine Conrad1, Markus Renninger3, Jörg Hennenlotter3, Tina Wiesner1, Lothar Just1, Michael Bonin4, Wilhelm Aicher5,6, Hans-Jörg Bühring7, Ulrich Mattheus2, Andreas Mack2, Hans-Joachim Wagner2, Stephen Minger8, Matthias Matzkies9, Michael Reppel9, Jürgen Hescheler9, Karl-Dietrich Sievert3, Arnulf Stenzl3 & Thomas Skutella1,6

  1. Institute of Anatomy, Department of Experimental Embryology,
  2. Institute of Anatomy, Department of Cellular Neurobiology, Österbergstras zlige 3, 72074 Tübingen, Germany
  3. Department of Urology, University Clinic Tübingen, Hoppe-Seyler-Stras zlige 3, Tübingen 72076, Germany
  4. Institute of Anthropology and Human Genetics, Microarray Facility, University Clinic, Calwerstras zlige 7, 72076 Tübingen, Germany
  5. ZMF Research Laboratories, University Clinic Tübingen, Waldhörnlestras zlige 22, 72072 Tübingen, Germany
  6. Center for Regenerative Biology and Medicine (ZRM), Paul-Ehrlich-Stras zlige 15, 72076 Tübingen, Germany
  7. Department of Internal Medicine II, University Clinic Tübingen, Otfried-Müller-Stras zlige 10, 72076 Tübingen, Germany
  8. Stem Cell Biology Laboratory, Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases, King's College London, King's College, London SE1 1UL, UK
  9. Institute of Neurophysiology, University of Cologne, Robert-Koch-Stras zlige 39, 50931 Cologne, Germany

Correspondence to: Thomas Skutella1,6 Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to T.S. (Email:


Human primordial germ cells and mouse neonatal and adult germline stem cells are pluripotent and show similar properties to embryonic stem cells. Here we report the successful establishment of human adult germline stem cells derived from spermatogonial cells of adult human testis. Cellular and molecular characterization of these cells revealed many similarities to human embryonic stem cells, and the germline stem cells produced teratomas after transplantation into immunodeficient mice. The human adult germline stem cells differentiated into various types of somatic cells of all three germ layers when grown under conditions used to induce the differentiation of human embryonic stem cells. We conclude that the generation of human adult germline stem cells from testicular biopsies may provide simple and non-controversial access to individual cell-based therapy without the ethical and immunological problems associated with human embryonic stem cells.


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