The first round of mouse spermatogenesis is a distinctive program that lacks the self-renewing spermatogonia stage

Shosei Yoshida, Mamiko Sukeno, Toshinori Nakagawa, Kazuyuki Ohbo, Go Nagamatsu, Toshio Suda, Yo Ichi Nabeshima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

290 Citations (Scopus)


Mammalian spermatogenesis is maintained by a continuous supply of differentiating cells from self-renewing stem cells. The stem cell activity resides in a small subset of primitive germ cells, the undifferentiated spermatogonia. However, the relationship between the establishment of this population and the initiation of differentiation in the developing testes remains unclear. In this study, we have investigated this issue by using the unique expression of Ngn3, which is expressed specifically in the undifferentiated spermatogonia, but not in the differentiating spermatogonia or their progenitors, the gonocytes. Our lineage analyses demonstrate that the first round of mouse spermatogenesis initiates directly from gonocytes, without passing through the Ngn3-expressing stage (Ngn3- lineage). By contrast, the subsequent rounds of spermatogenesis are derived from Ngn3-positive undifferentiated spermatogonia, which are also immediate descendents of the gonocytes and represent the stem cell function (Ngn3+ lineage). Thus, in mouse spermatogenesis, the state of the undifferentiated spermatogonia is not an inevitable step but is a developmental option that ensures continuous sperm production. In addition, the segregation of gonocytes into undifferentiated spermatogonia (Ngn3+ lineage) or differentiating spermatogonia (Ngn3- lineage) is topographically related to the establishment of the seminiferous epithelial cycle, thus suggesting a role of somatic components in the establishment of stem cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1495-1505
Number of pages11
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Apr
Externally publishedYes


  • Galectin 1
  • Kit
  • Mouse
  • Ngn3
  • Seminiferous epithelial cycle
  • Spermatogenesis
  • Stem cells
  • Undifferentiated spermatogonia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'The first round of mouse spermatogenesis is a distinctive program that lacks the self-renewing spermatogonia stage'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this