Human umbilical cord blood serum can replace fetal bovine serum in the culture of mesenchymal stem cells

Cell Biol Int. 2007 Mar;31(3):293-8. doi: 10.1016/j.cellbi.2006.11.010. Epub 2006 Nov 19.


The potential of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) to differentiate into different cell types has opened up the possibility of using these cells clinically to treat a variety of disorders. In this study we describe the use of human umbilical cord blood serum (CBS) as a replacement for fetal bovine serum (FBS) for culturing MSC from different sources. MSC from human and swine bone marrow and human umbilical cord blood were cultured in the presence of DMEM/F12 containing either FBS or CBS. Human MSC cultured in presence of FBS or CBS showed typical fibroblast-like morphology, which is characteristic of MSC. 99% of the cells cultured in FBS had a CD73+/CD105+/CD45- phenotype compared to 96% of cells cultured in CBS. Cells cultured in CBS had a significantly higher cell count as compared to cells cultured in FBS. Swine Bone Marrow MSC cultured in the presence of FBS and CBS were morphologically and phenotypically similar. Human umbilical cord blood serum supports the growth of MSC. While no significant differences were observed in the MSC numbers in swine cells cultured in the presence of FBS or CBS, human cells showed a greater proliferation potential in the presence of CBS as compared to FBS. Therefore, CBS can be used as an effective substitute to FBS for developing clinically useful protocols for culturing MSC.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Cell Culture Techniques*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Lineage
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Culture Media / pharmacology*
  • Fetal Blood / metabolism*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Serum / metabolism*
  • Swine


  • Culture Media