This new study unveiled the inner working and factors that influence the sperm cell formation. The fact is that sperm cells are stems cells that have the capability of self-renewability and that might be the reason for its odd lifecycle.
Without this vital half piece of code from a male, reproduction wouldn’t be possible. But science was a lap short from understanding the mystery male sperms. But a new study closed that gap too. A group of researchers from Kyoto University Japan unraveled the mystery of sperms which might open a new door for all fertility related issues.
The Myc genes are the key factors that help with the self-renewal part in a spermatogonial stem cell (SSC). Unlike other stem cells, SSC’s are the only category of cells that help in transferring the genetic information to offspring. In the study took place at Kyoto University, scientists were able to find the regulating factor - the Myc gene and its expression using the mechanism of glycolysis, which is nothing but an energy mechanism by which cells synthesize energy from glucose.
In order to reach this conclusion, scientists used two types of SSC’s to inject into the test mouse. The first type of SSC was normal, whereas the second types had suppressed Myc genes, which they injected into the mouse testes. After two months they observed a drop in the total number of abnormal SSC’s than that of normal, which after a gene analysis study was clear that it affected the self-renewal ability of the SSC’s.
Further studies showed that the suppressed SSC’s could renew but at a much slower pace than the normal one. The impaired glycolysis mechanism of the cells might be read linked to this event, which should have choked the energy supply to SSC’s. A further study, deeper into the mice SSC’s showed that enhancing glycolysis of the cell can improve the stem cell proliferation rate.
Infertility is one of a major headache in the society today. Though treatments like IVF, ICSI, IUI etc. are available the guaranteed success rate in much lower than we think. However, this study points towards a major key that can increase the infertility success rate by a great percentage. This would mainly benefit the male infertility issues like weak sperm cells, lower count or immature cell formation. The knowledge on Myc gene expression and the vital role played by glycolysis might help in solving infertility through ‘a much easier approach’ in a ‘more cost efficient manner’ with a ‘high success rate’.
Mito Kanatsu-Shinohara, Takashi Tanaka, Narumi Ogonuki, Atsuo Ogura, Hiroko Morimoto, Pei Feng Cheng, Robert N. Eisenman, Andreas Trumpp, Takashi Shinohara. Myc/Mycn-mediated glycolysis enhances mouse spermatogonial stem cell self-renewal. Genes & Development, 2016; 30 (23): 2637 DOI: 10.1101/gad.287045.116