Optimization of culture conditions for short-term maintenance, proliferation, and colony formation of porcine gonocytes

Research paper by Awang Hazmi Awang-Junaidi, Ali Honaramooz

Indexed on: 17 Jan '18Published on: 17 Jan '18Published in: Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology


Gonocytes give rise to spermatogonial stem cells, and thereby play an essential role in establishing spermatogenesis. Optimized culture conditions for gonocytes provide an opportunity for their study and in vitro manipulation for potential application in reproductive technologies. Using six experiments in a step-wise design, we examined the effects of several culture conditions on the maintenance, proliferation, and colony formation of porcine gonocytes. Testis cells from neonatal piglets were cultured for 7 d in DMEM supplemented with 10% fetal bovine serum. The examined culture conditions included using different cell seeding densities, gonocyte proportions, incubation temperatures, sampling strategies, and medium changing regimens.Confluency of cells was optimal (>90% by ~6 d) when 3.0 × 104 testis cells/cm2 containing ~40% gonocytes were used. Incubating the cells at 35 °C or 37 °C resulted in similar cell number and viability at confluency, but incubation at 35 °C resulted in a delayed confluency. In the first 2 d of culture, gonocytes remained mostly floating in the medium and gradually settled over the next 5 d. Consequently, not changing the medium for 7 d (as opposed to changing it every 2 d) led to a significant increase in the number of gonocyte colonies by reducing the loss of “floating gonocytes”.We found that gonocytes require the presence of a critical minimum number of somatic cells for settlement, and can proliferate and form growing colonies even in a basic medium. Large numbers of viable gonocytes remain floating in the medium for several days. The optimized culture conditions in the present study included seeding with 3.0 × 104 testis cells/cm2 containing ~40% gonocytes, incubating at 37 °C, and without changing the medium in the first week, which can result in improved colony formation of porcine gonocytes.