Makoto Nagano, PhD, DVM
stem cell • spermatogenesis • fertility restoration
My research focuses on stem cells of spermatogenesis, the sperm-producing mechanism. These stem cells give males the ability to produce millions and billions of sperm cells everyday throughout life. They thus form the foundation of species preservation and evolution and are vital to maintain the health of our future generations. My research group studies how these cells decide to stay as stem cells or to take a path to become sperm. We also attempt to preserve male fertility in humans and animals. For animals, our research will facilitate to maintain useful farm animals and preserve endangered species. For humans, we are developing a technology to safeguard male fertility, particularly for men with cancer. Currently, options are not available for these men to preserve their fertility if the therapy damages it, because they are too immature for sperm-banking. Our technology will allow us to harvest the stem cells before the therapy and transplant them back later to help them regain sperm-producing ability. Our research will make this technology a clinical reality.
Nagano MC, Yeh JR. The identity and fate decision control of spermatogonial stem cells: where is the point of no return? Curr Top Dev Biol. 2013;102:61-95. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-416024-8.00003-9. Review. PMID: 23287030.
Zohni K, Zhang X, Tan SL, Chan P, Nagano M. CD9 is expressed on human male germ cells that have a long-term repopulation potential after transplantation into mouse testes. Biol Reprod. 2012 Aug 2;87(2):27. doi: 10.1095/biolreprod.112.098913. Print 2012 Aug. PMID: 22592495.
Zohni K, Zhang X, Tan SL, Chan P, Nagano MC. The efficiency of male fertility restoration is dependent on the recovery kinetics of spermatogonial stem cells after cytotoxic treatment with busulfan in mice. Hum Reprod. 2012 Jan;27(1):44-53. doi: 10.1093/humrep/der357. Epub 2011 Nov 14. PMID: 22082982.
Yeh JR, Zhang X, Nagano MC. Wnt5a is a cell-extrinsic factor that supports self-renewal of mouse spermatogonial stem cells. J Cell Sci. 2011 Jul 15;124(Pt 14):2357-66. doi: 10.1242/jcs.080903. Epub 2011 Jun 21. PMID: 21693582.
Nagano M, Brinster CJ, Orwig KE, Ryu BY, Avarbock MR, Brinster RL. Transgenic mice produced by retroviral transduction of male germ-line stem cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Nov 6;98(23):13090-5. Epub 2001 Oct 23. PMID: 11606778.