Review article: Stem cells in human reproduction

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    Abstract

    The derivation of human embryonic stem (hES) cells heralds a new era in stem cell research, generating excitement for their therapeutic potential in regenerative medicine. Pioneering work of embryologists, developmental biologists, and reproductive medicine practitioners in in vitro fertilization clinics has facilitated hES cell research. This review summarizes current research focused on optimizing hES cell culture conditions for good manufacturing practice, directing hES cell differentiation toward trophectoderm and germ cells, and approaches used to reprogram cells for pluripotent cell derivation. The identification of germ stem cells in the testis and the recent controversy over their existence in the ovary raise the possibility of harnessing them for treating young cancer survivors. There is also the potential to harvest fetal stem cells with pluripotent cell-like properties from discarded placental tissues. The recent identification of adult stem/progenitor cell activity in the human endometrium offers a new understanding of common gynecological diseases. Discoveries resulting from research into embryonic, germ, fetal, and adult stem cells are highly relevant to human reproduction.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)405 - 424
    Number of pages20
    JournalReproductive Sciences
    Volume14
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

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