Mesenchymal stem cells derived from Wharton’s Jelly of the umbilical cord: biological properties and emerging clinical applications

This study suggests there is accumulating interest in identifying alternative sources for mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). To this end MSCs obtained from the Wharton’s Jelly (WJ) of umbilical cords (UC) have gained much attention over the years since they can be easily isolated, without any ethical concerns, from a tissue which is discarded after birth. Furthermore, MSCs derived from Wharton’s Jelly represent a more primitive population than their adult counterparts, opening new perspectives for cell-based therapies.

In this review, they first give an overview of the biology of MSCs derived from the umbilical cord Wharton’s Jelly. They then look at these MSCs potential application for the treatment of cancer and immune mediated disorders, such as graft versus host disease (GVHD) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Finally, their putative role as feeder layer for ex vivo hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) expansion is pointed out.

Perspectives of employing mesenchymal stem cells from the Wharton’s jelly of the umbilical cord for peripheral nerve repair

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from Wharton’s jelly present high plasticity and low immunogenicity, turning them into a desirable form of cell therapy for the injured nervous system. Their isolation, expansion, and characterization have been performed from cryopreserved umbilical cord tissue. Great concern has been dedicated to the collection, preservation, and transport protocols of the umbilical cord after the parturition to the laboratory in order to obtain samples with higher number of viable MSCs without microbiological contamination.

Wharton’s Jelly Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells: Future of Regenerative Medicine? Recent Findings and Clinical Significance

Taken together, the clinical implication of oxidative stress, telomere length, DNA damage and disease has impaired the therapeutic potential of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) isolated from aged patients. These changes in MSC biology indicate that aged patients may require an alternative source of stem cells for treatment. The high efficiency of Wharton’s Jelly mesenchymal stem cells (WJ-MSC) recovery, the minimal ethical concerns associated with its acquirement and use, low immunogenicity, and the fact that they are from healthy, young donors make them an ideal source of MSC for autologous and allogeneic applications.

Wharton’s jelly as a reservoir of peptide growth factors

The amounts of peptide growth factors calculated per microgram of DNA are distinctly higher in Wharton’s jelly in comparison to the umbilical cord artery. Western blot analysis demonstrated that almost the entire amount of these factors is bound to high molecular weight components. Since the number of cells in Wharton’s jelly is very low and the amounts of extracellular matrix components are very high, it is concluded that the cells are strongly stimulated by peptide growth factors to produce large amounts of collagen and glycosaminoglycans.