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Journal Articles Andrology Year : 2019

Tissue regeneration and the epididymal stem cell


BACKGROUND: In most pseudostratified epithelia, basal cells represent a multipotent adult stem cell population. These cells generally remain in a quiescent state, until they are stimulated to respond to tissue damage by initiating epithelial regeneration. In the epididymis, cell proliferation occurs at a relatively slow rate under normal physiological conditions. Epididymal basal cells have been shown to share common properties with multipotent adult stem cells. The development of organoids from stem cells represents a novel approach for understanding cellular differentiation and characterization of stem cells. OBJECTIVE: To review the literature on tissue regeneration in the epididymis and demonstrate the presence of an epididymal stem cell population. METHODS: PubMed database was searched for studies reporting on cell proliferation, regeneration, and stem cells in the epididymis. Three-dimensional cell culture of epididymal cells was used to determine whether these can develop into organoids in a similar fashion to stem cells from other tissues. RESULTS: The epididymal epithelium can rapidly regenerate following orchidectomy or efferent duct ligation, in order to maintain epithelial integrity. Studies have isolated a highly purified fraction of rat epididymal basal cells and reported that these cells displayed properties similar to those of multipotent adult stem cells. In two-dimensional cell culture conditions, these cells differentiated into cells which expressed connexin 26, a marker of columnar cells, and cytokeratin 8. Furthermore, three-dimensional cell culture of epididymal cells resulted in the formation of organoids, a phenomenon associated with the proliferation and differentiation of stem cells in vitro. CONCLUSIONS: The rapid proliferation and tissue regeneration of the epididymal epithelium to preserve its integrity following tissue damage as well as the ability of cells to differentiate into organoids in vitro support the notion of a resident progenitor/stem cell population in the adult epididymis.

Dates and versions

pasteur-02275457 , version 1 (30-08-2019)



L. Pinel, Marion Mandon, Daniel Cyr. Tissue regeneration and the epididymal stem cell. Andrology, 2019, 7 (5), pp.618-630. ⟨10.1111/andr.12635⟩. ⟨pasteur-02275457⟩


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