We previously reported that fetal porcine skin-derived stem cells were capable of differentiation into oocyte-like cells (OLCs). Here we report that newborn mice skin-derived stem cells are also capable of differentiating into early OLCs. Using stem cells from mice that are transgenic for Oct4 germline distal enhancer-GFP, germ cells resulting from their differentiation are expected to be GFP+. After differentiation, some GFP+ OLCs reached 40-45 μM and expressed oocyte markers. Flow cytometric analysis revealed that ∼0.3% of the freshly isolated skin cells were GFP+. The GFP-positive cells increased to ∼7% after differentiation, suggesting that the GFP+ cells could be of in vivo origin, but are more likely induced upon being cultured in vitro. To study the in vivo germ cell potential of skin-derived cells, they were aggregated with newborn ovarian cells, and transplanted under the kidney capsule of ovariectomized mice. GFP+ oocytes were identified within a subpopulation of follicles in the resulting growth. Our finding that early oocytes can be differentiated from mice skin-derived cells in defined medium may offer a new in vitro model to study germ cell formation and oogenesis. © 2011 Dyce et al.
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