Bovine ectopic testis tissue grafting is a technique that can be used to study bovine spermatogenesis and for the production of germ cells for a variety of applications. Approximately 10% of seminiferous tubule cross sections in testis grafts contain spermatids, providing a unique tool to investigate what regulates germ cell differentiation. We hypothesized that manipulation of testis tissue grafts would increase the percentage of seminiferous tubule cross sections undergoing complete germ cell differentiation. To test this hypothesis, bovine testis tissue was treated with vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) at the time of grafting or explant cultured for 1 wk prior to grafting. For the VEGF experiment, 8-wk donor tissue and graft sites were treated with 1 μg of VEGF in order to increase angiogenesis at the graft site. For the testis tissue culture experiment, 4-wk-old donor testis was cultured for 1 wk prior to grafting to stimulate spermatogonial stem cell proliferation. Testis tissue grafts were removed from the mice 24 wk after grafting. VEGF treatment increased graft weight and the percentage of seminiferous tubule cross sections with elongating spermatids at the time of graft removal. Cultured testis tissue grafts were smaller and had fewer seminiferous tubules per graft. However, there was no difference in the percentage of seminiferous tubule cross sections that contained any germ cell type between groups. These data indicate for the first time that bovine testis tissue can be manipulated to better support germ cell differentiation in grafted tissue.
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