Globally, fertility-related issues affect around 15% of couples. In 20%-30% of cases men are solely responsible, and they contribute in around 50% of all cases. Hence, understanding of in vivo germ-cell specification and exploring different angles of fertility preservation and infertility intervention are considered hot topics nowadays, with special focus on the use of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) as a source of in vitro germ-cell generation. However, the generation of male germ cells from hPSCs can currently be considered challenging, making a judgment on the real perspective of these innovative approaches difficult. Ever since the first spontaneous germ-cell differentiation studies, using human embryonic stem cells, various strategies, including specific co-cultures, gene over-expression, and addition of growth factors, have been applied for human germ-cell derivation. In line with the variety of differentiation methods, the outcomes have ranged from early and migratory primordial germ cells up to post-meiotic spermatids. This variety of culture approaches and cell lines makes comparisons between protocols difficult. Considering the diverse strategies and outcomes, we aim in this mini-review to summarize the literature regarding in vitro derivation of human male germ cells from hPSCs, while keeping a particular focus on the culture methods, growth factors, and cell lines used.
- Cell Differentiation/physiology
- Cytological Techniques/methods
- Embryonic Stem Cells/cytology
- Germ Cells/cytology
- Pluripotent Stem Cells/cytology