Research Papers:

Generation and characteristics of human Sertoli cell line immortalized by overexpression of human telomerase

Liping Wen, Qingqing Yuan, Min Sun, Minghui Niu, Hong Wang, Hongyong Fu, Fan Zhou, Chencheng Yao, Xiaobo Wang, Zheng Li and Zuping He _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:16553-16570. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.14985

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Liping Wen1, Qingqing Yuan1, Min Sun1, Minghui Niu1, Hong Wang1, Hongyong Fu1, Fan Zhou1, Chencheng Yao2, Xiaobo Wang2, Zheng Li2, Zuping He1,3,4,5

1State Key Laboratory of Oncogenes and Related Genes, Renji-Med X Clinical Stem Cell Research Center, Ren Ji Hospital, School of Medicine, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200127, China

2Department of Andrology, Urologic Medical Center, Shanghai General Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200080, China

3Shanghai Institute of Andrology, Ren Ji Hospital, School of Medicine, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200001, China

4Shanghai Key Laboratory of Assisted Reproduction and Reproductive Genetics, Shanghai 200127, China

5Shanghai Key Laboratory of Reproductive Medicine, Shanghai 200025, China

Correspondence to:

Zuping He, email: [email protected]

Keywords: human, Sertoli cell line, human telomerase, phenotypic characteristics, proliferation

Received: December 19, 2016     Accepted: January 24, 2017     Published: February 01, 2017


Sertoli cells are required for normal spermatogenesis and they can be reprogrammed to other types of functional cells. However, the number of primary Sertoli cells is rare and human Sertoli cell line is unavailable. In this study, we have for the first time reported a stable human Sertoli cell line, namely hS1 cells, by overexpression of human telomerase. The hS1 cells expressed a number of hallmarks for human Sertoli cells, including SOX9, WT1, GDNF, SCF, BMP4, BMP6, GATA4, and VIM, and they were negative for 3β-HSD, SMA, and VASA. Higher levels of AR and FSHR were observed in hS1 cells compared to primary human Sertoli cells. Microarray analysis showed that 70.4% of global gene profiles of hS1 cells were similar to primary human Sertoli cells. Proliferation assay demonstrated that hS1 cells proliferated rapidly and they could be passaged for more than 30 times in 6 months. Neither Y chromosome microdeletion nor tumorgenesis was detected in this cell line and 90% normal karyotypes existed in hS1 cells. Collectively, we have established the first human Sertoli cell line with phenotype of primary human Sertoli cells, an unlimited proliferation potential and high safety, which could offer sufficient human Sertoli cells for basic research as well as reproductive and regenerative medicine.

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