Use of male germ line stem cells for male fertility preservation and restoration

A stem cell population is present in the male germ line, providing the basis for life-long sperm production. The male germ line stem cells, or spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs), are the only cell type in the body that can self-renew and transmit the genetic information to the next generation. These cells are expected to become an important resource to preserve male fertility, particularly for childhood cancer patients who undergo potentially sterilizing cancer therapy before or around the time of puberty. We envisage that SSCs can be harvested before the therapy, cryopreserved, and following stem cell expansion and isolation, transplanted back to a patient after the therapy.

We are studying the mechanisms that control a delicate balance between self-renewal (to sustain stem cell pool) and differentiation (to produce sperm) of SSCs. Based on such knowledge about SSC biology, the clinical goal of our research is to apply SSCs to preserve and effectively restore male fertility by surgical and pharmacological approaches.

Methods include:
Cell culture, transplantation, immunological cell analysis and sorting, high-throughput screening, histology, genetic modification

Jonathan Yeh, Makoto Nagano, Xiangfan Zhang, Kevin Ebata, Khaled Zohni

Research group:
Makoto Nagano, Principal Investigator profile
Jonathan Yeh
Xiangfan Zhang
Kevin Ebata
Khaled Zohni


  1. Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
  2. Fonds de recherche en santé du Québec (FRSQ)
  3. Le Fonds québécois de la recherche sur la nature et les technologies (FQRNT)