Activities per year
RESEARCH QUESTION: Does recombinant human vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF-165) improve the efficiency of human immature testis tissue (ITT) xenotransplantation?
DESIGN: ITT fragments from three prepubertal boys were cultured for 5 days with VEGF-165 or without (control) before xenotransplantation into the testes of immunodeficient mice. Xenotransplants were recovered at 4 and 9 months post-transplantation and vascularization, seminiferous tubule integrity, number of spermatogonia and germ cell differentiation were evaluated by histology and immunohistochemistry.
RESULTS: Transplants from donor 1 and donor 2 treated with VEGF demonstrated higher vascular surface (P = 0.004) and vessel density (P = 0.011) overall and contained more intact seminiferous tubules (P = 0.039) with time, compared with controls. The number of spermatogonia was increased over time (P < 0.001) irrespective of treatment and donor, whereas, for the VEGF-treated transplants, the increase was even higher over time (P = 0.020). At 9 months, spermatocytes were present in the xenotransplants, irrespective of treatment. No transplants could be recovered from donor 3, who had already received treatment with cyclosporine for aplastic anaemia before biopsy.
CONCLUSIONS: In-vitro pre-treatment of human prepubertal testis tissue with VEGF improved transplant vascularization in two out of three cases, resulting in improved seminiferous tubule integrity and spermatogonial survival during xenotransplantation. Although further studies are warranted, we suggest VEGF to be considered as a factor for improving the efficiency of immature testis tissue transplantation in the future.