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Human Umbilical Cord Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells

According to The European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences (2016), cells derived from the mesoderm with the ability to undergo self-renewal are Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs). These cells were first described by a team led by Friedenstein as spindle-shaped cells that adhered to the culture vessel from the bone marrow. MSCs can differentiate into several cell types such as chondrocytes (cartilage cells), osteocytes (bone cells), adipocytes (fat cells) and myocytes (muscle).

2016-published research in the Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research by scientists Viganò and team explained that these cells maintain the optimum number of cells in tissues to maintain tissue homeostasis by differentiating into appropriate cells. They also release many growth factors and molecules that regulate the immune system.

A team led by Sriramulu (2018) described added features of these cells in the International Journal of hematology-oncology and stem cell research that are of interest in clinical applications. Notably, the cells can apart from secreting growth factors to allow tissue regeneration but also target and prevent immune reactions to hence allow repair of the damaged cells. These “immunomodulatory” effects open up an avenue for using these cells for therapy.

While the usual source of MSCs is the bone marrow, due to the decrease in these cells with age in the marrow, several other sources have been explored. These include peripheral blood, amniotic fluid, umbilical cord and cord blood. The MSCs from the human umbilical cord express lower levels of immune molecules called major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I and human leukocyte antigen-II (HLA-II) molecules when compared with MSCs from the bone marrow.

Research by Takeo and team in Frontiers in Neurology describe the advantages of using MSCs from the umbilical cord in research:

  1. The collection of these cells does not involve any invasive process.
  2. The ethical issues associated are lesser.
  3. The source is abundant.
  4. The collection, storage and transport of the cord are easy.
  5. The cells isolated can differentiate into several cell types.
  6. They migrate to sites of injury or damage.
  7. They have low immunogenicity

The abovementioned research team also reported that MSCs from the umbilical cord could repair the damage in neonatal cortical neurons that had been exposed to oxygen starvation. The MSCs stimulated the division and numbers of neurons and also decreased the number of cells showing apoptosis. This opens up the potential of using these cells to treat traumatic brain injury or cerebral palsy.

As another example, research by Marmotti and team in Stem Cells International reported that MSCs from the umbilical cord could differentiate into cartilage and bone to serve as sources of cells “on- demand” for orthopaedic tissue engineering.

Thus, the culture of MSCs from the umbilical cord can serve as an interesting tool to explore the potential of these cells to treat diseases and boost research.

Kosheeka is your answer if you are looking at an authentic source of these cells that are conducive for your research and hence contribution to science.


Ali F, Taresh S, Al-Nuzaily M, Mok PL, Ismail A, Ahmad S. Stem cells differentiation and probing their therapeutic applications in hematological disorders: a critical review. The European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences. 2016 Oct; 20(20):4390-4400.

Viganò M, Sansone V, d’Agostino MC, Romeo P, Perucca Orfei C, de Girolamo L. Mesenchymal stem cells as therapeutic target of biophysical stimulation for the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders. Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research. 2016 Dec 16; 11(1):163.

Sriramulu, S., Banerjee, A., Di Liddo, R., Jothimani, G., Gopinath, M., Murugesan, R., Marotta, F., & Pathak, S. Concise Review on Clinical Applications of Conditioned Medium Derived from Human Umbilical Cord-Mesenchymal Stem Cells (UC-MSCs). International journal of hematology-oncology and stem cell research. 2018; 12(3), 230–234.

Mukai Takeo, Tojo Arinobu, Nagamura-Inoue Tokiko. Umbilical Cord-Derived Mesenchymal Stromal Cells Contribute to Neuroprotection in Neonatal Cortical Neurons Damaged by Oxygen-Glucose Deprivation. Frontiers in Neurology. 2018; 9: 466.

  1. Marmotti, S. Mattia, F. Castoldi, et al. Allogeneic Umbilical Cord-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells as a Potential Source for Cartilage and Bone Regeneration: An In VitroStudy. Stem Cells International. 2017; Article ID 1732094: 16 pages.

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