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spermatogonial stem cell transplantation and grafting


flow cytometry


In 2009, a new research line considering fertility preservation in patients with Klinefelter syndrome (KS) patients was started in the BITE lab. KS patiens have one or more extra copies of the X-chromosome(s). These patients suffer from azoospermia due to a massive germ cell loss. However, in 50% of the patients, focal spermatogenesis is present which enables the testicular recovery of spermatozoa for ICSI. In an attempt to preserve their fertility before the occurrence of germ cell loss, the recovery of spermatozoa at adolescent age or spermatogonial stem cells at prepubertal age was evaluated. Unfortunately, only limited numbers of spermatogonial stem cells were present in these biopsies. Therefore, we hypothesized that germ cell loss occurs very early in life and early fertility preservation is not beneficial to young Klinefelter boys. Therefore, patients rely on the focal spermatogenesis present at adult age. Klinefelter syndrome is highly underdiagnosed and most patients are only diagnosed when they contact a fertility center due to fertility problems. At the time of diagnosis, the testis is often highly fibrotic. The cause of this fibrotic process has not been identified. Current research in the BITE lab focuses on the occurrence of fibrosis in the Klinefelter testis. Next to this, we want to evaluate whether it is possible to predict the presence of spermatogenesis in the testis. At the moment, there are no clinical factors to predict successful recovery of testicular spermatozoa. We want to evaluate whether biomarkers in semen can predict ongoing spermatogenesis in a non-invasive manner.  



Dorien Van Saen studied Biomedical sciences at the VUB and graduated in 2007. She started a PhD in the research lab Biology of the Testis (BITE) focusing on fertility preservation options for young boys facing germ cell loss. This PhD thesis was successfully defended in 2012. Thereafter, she received a post doctoral grant at the Fund for Scientific Research Flanders (FWO-Vlaanderen) and continued working in the BITE lab. Her research focus shifted to patients with Klinefelter syndrome and their options to preserve fertility. During her academic career, she supervised many master students during their internship. In 2018, she obtained a faculty position (10%) and is now trying to expand her research as a principal investigator. 


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