In a previous study, we have shown that human testicular mini- tissues can be created by re-associating primary testicular cells at the gas-liquid interphase. The important niche cells and the spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) were maintained and show
functional activity during long-term culture. However, the mini-tissues lack compartmentalization and are therefore not expected to support spermatogenesis. Studying spermatogenesis in-situ has led to the understanding that the defined spatial arrangement of the testicular cells, thus compartmentalization, is of enormous importance for the regulation and completion of germ cell maturation. We hypothesize that functional testicular tissue can be engineered by generating spatially-controlled cell patterns using 3D bioprinting and has a purpose as a research tool. Recently, we were able to proof the concept of engineered testicular tissue in a mouse model giving us a good foundation to build on. Here, we propose to further explore the potential of engineered testicular tissues in reproductive research by combining: i) gene editing and in-vitro spermatogenesis (IVS) for gene therapy and other scientific goals, ii) human SSCs and 3D bioprinting for clinical treatment of male infertility and iii) multi-organ- chips and IVS for drug discovery and reprotoxicology.
Effective start/end date1/10/1930/09/22

    Research areas

  • testis, spermatogonial stem cells, tissue engineering, 3D bioprinting, scaffolds, gene editing, microfluidics, multi-organ-chips

    Flemish discipline codes

  • Cell growth and development

ID: 47041480