Ex vivo expansion of cord blood mononuclear cells on mesenchymal stem cells

Cytotherapy. 2004;6(4):311-7. doi: 10.1080/14653240410004871.


Background: Cord blood (CB) cells are being used increasingly as a source of hematopoietic cells to support high dose chemotherapy. However, CB units contain low numbers of cells, including CD34+ cells, and thus their use is associated with significant delays in engraftment of neutrophils and platelets. Exvivo expansion of CB has been proposed to increase the numbers of cells available. We and others have reported the requirement of CD34 selection for optimal expansion of CB products'; however, the selection of frozen CB products in clinical trials results in significant loss of CD34+ cells, with a median recovery of 50, but less than 40% recovery in more than one-third of products. In the present studies we evaluated the potential of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) to support ex vivo expansion of unselected CB products.

Methods: Mononuclear cells (MNC) from CB products were isolated and cultured on preformed MSC layers in T150 flasks containing 50 mL Stemline II media plus hematopoietic growth factors. Various culture conditions were compared for optimal expansion of the CB MNC.

Results: Ex vivo expansion of CB MNC on MSC resulted in 10- to 20-fold expansion of total nucleated cells, seven- to 18-fold expansion of committed progenitor cells, two- to five-fold expansion of primitive progenitor cells and 16- to 37-fold expansion of CD34+ cells.

Discussion: These studies demonstrated significant expansion of CB products without CD34 cell selection using culture conditions that are clinically applicable. Our current focus is to initiate clinical trials to evaluate the in vivo potential of CB cells expanded with these conditions.

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, CD34 / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Culture Media
  • Fetal Blood / cytology*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / cytology*
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / metabolism
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / metabolism


  • Antigens, CD34
  • Culture Media