MSCs can be differentially isolated from maternal, middle and fetal segments of the human umbilical cord.

PMID 27727016


Human Wharton's jelly-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (hWJMSCs) are possibly the most suitable allogeneic cell source for stromal cell therapy and tissue engineering applications because of their hypo-immunogenic and non-tumorigenic properties, easy availability and minimal ethical concerns. Furthermore, hWJMSCs possess unique properties of both adult mesenchymal stromal cells and embryonic stromal cells. The human umbilical cord (UC) is approximately 50-60 cm long and the existing studies in the literature have not provided information on which segment of the UC was studied. In this study, hWJMSCs derived from three anatomical segments of the UC are compared. Three segments of the whole UC, each 3 cm in length, were identified anatomically as the maternal, middle and fetal segments. The hWJMSCs from the different segments were analyzed via trypan blue exclusion assay to determine the growth kinetics and cell viability, flow cytometry for immunophenotyping and immunofluorescence and reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for expression of stromal cell transcriptional factors. Furthermore, the trilineage differentiation potential (osteogenic, adipogenic and chondrogenic) of these cells was also assessed. hWJMSCs isolated from the maternal and fetal segments displayed greater viability and possessed a significantly higher proliferation rate compared with cells from the middle segment. Immunophenotyping revealed that hWJMSCs derived from all three segments expressed the MSC markers CD105, CD73, CD90, CD44, CD13 and CD29, as well as HLA-ABC and HLA-DR, but were negative for hematopoietic markers CD14, CD34 and CD45. Analysis of the embryonic markers showed that all three segments expressed Nanog and Oct 3/4, but only the maternal and fetal segments expressed SSEA 4 and TRA-160. Cells from all three segments were able to differentiate into chondrogenic, osteogenic and adipogenic lineages with the middle segments showing much lower differentiation potential compared with the other two segments. hWJMSCs derived from the maternal and fetal segments of the UC are a good source of MSCs compared with cells from the middle segment because of their higher proliferation rate and viability. Fetal and maternal segments are the preferred cell source for bone regeneration.