The controversial existence and functional potential of oogonial stem cells

Kelsey M. Grieve, Marie McLaughlin, Cheryl E. Dunlop, Evelyn E. Telfer, Richard Anderson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The regenerative potential of the mammalian ovary has been a controversial area over the last decade. Isolation of cells, termed oogonial stem cells (OSCs), from adult rodent and human ovaries has been reported, with these cells exhibiting both germ and stem cell markers in culture. When re-introduced into an ovarian somatic environment these cells have generated follicles capable of producing healthy offspring in rodents, and there is some evidence of human OSCs being able to form oocyte-like structures in a xenotransplant model. Importantly, there are no data on their potential physiological role within the ovary, and specifically no evidence that they contribute to the primordial follicle pool and thus to later stages of follicle development. The cues required for oocyte differentiation from these cells are not well understood either in vivo or in vitro, and these will need to be further elucidated to maximise their potential for therapeutic intervention. OSCs may also be of value as a model to investigate normal human germ cell differentiation. It is likely that their interactions with ovarian somatic cells and/or extracellular signals will be important in these processes. This review summarises our current knowledge on the isolation and characterisation of mammalian oogonial stem cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278–281
Number of pages4
JournalMaturitas
Volume82
Issue number3
Early online date26 Jul 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015

Keywords

  • follicle formation
  • oocyte
  • stem cells

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