Umbilical cord blood-derived stem cells and brain repair

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2005 May;1049:67-83. doi: 10.1196/annals.1334.008.


Human umbilical cord blood (HUCB) is now considered a valuable source for stem cell-based therapies. HUCB cells are enriched for stem cells that have the potential to initiate and maintain tissue repair. This potential is especially attractive in neural diseases for which no current cure is available. Furthermore, HUCB cells are easily available and less immunogenic compared to other sources for stem cell therapy such as bone marrow. Accordingly, the number of cord blood transplants has doubled in the last year alone, especially in the pediatric population. The therapeutic potential of HUCB cells may be attributed to inherent ability of stem cell populations to replace damaged tissues. Alternatively, various cell types within the graft may promote neural repair by delivering neural protection and secretion of neurotrophic factors. In this review, we evaluate the preclinical studies in which HUCB was applied for treatment of neurodegenerative diseases and for traumatic and ischemic brain damage. We discuss how transplantation of HUCB cells affects these disorders and we present recent clinical studies with promising outcome.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Injuries / pathology
  • Brain Injuries / therapy*
  • Brain Ischemia / therapy
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Cord Blood Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Fetal Blood / cytology*
  • Humans
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / pathology
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / therapy*
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Transplantation, Heterologous