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Detection of rare Leydig cell hypoplasia in somatic cell cloned male piglets

  • Mi-Rung Park (a1), Seong-Keun Cho (a1), Jong-Yi Park (a1), So-Young Lee (a1), Yun-Jung Choi (a1), Deug-Nam Kwon (a1), Woo-Jin Son (a2), Han-Geuk Seo (a3) and Jin-Hoi Kim (a1)...


In this investigation, 22 cloned male piglets were obtained by male fetal fibroblast-cell-derived nuclear transfer. Eighteen of the cloned animals died. The two cell lines did not differ significantly with regard to efficiency of live piglet production. The gross anatomy of the testes of male piglets that died was normal. However, one piglet displayed Leydig cell hypoplasia (LCH). No anatomical defects were detected in the testes of other cloned male piglets. TUNEL analysis of the testis with LCH revealed significant apoptosis in the Leydig cells, while apoptosis was rarely detected in Sertoli cells and spermatogonia. In contrast, testes from the remaining 17 piglets that died appeared normal in size, and their Sertoli and Leydig cell numbers were comparable to those in control piglet testes. Although cloned piglets were derived from fibroblasts obtained from the same fetus, phenotypic instability between cells used for the production of somatic cell cloned piglets suggests that abnormalities in male cloned piglets are caused not by technical problems and/or reprogramming effects, but rather by epigenetically and/or genetically damaged cell-specific effects.


Corresponding author

All correspondence to: Jin-Hoi Kim, Major of Dairy Science, Division of Applied Life Science, GyeongSang National University, Jinju, GyeongNam 660-701, Korea. e-mail:



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