Objective: Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can be isolated from umbilical cord Wharton's jelly (UC-MSC) and UC can be easily obtained, representing a noncontroversial source of MSCs. UC-MSCs are more primitive than other tissue sources. Previous studies showed that UC-MSCs were still viable and were not rejected 4 months after transplantation as xenografts without the need for immune suppression, indicating that they are favorable cell source for transplantation. In this study, UC-MSCs were induced to differentiate into endothelial-like cells and compared with bone marrow (BM)-MSCs for their endothelial differentiation potential.
Materials and methods: UC-MSCs and BM-MSCs were characterized for expression of MSC-specific markers and osteogenic, adipogenic, and chondrogenic differentiation. They were induced to differentiate into endothelial-like cells and analyzed for expression of the endothelial-specific markers and functions.
Results: UC-MSCs and BM-MSCs showed similarities in expression of the MSC-specific markers and osteogenic, adipogenic, and chondrogenic differentiation. They showed similar low-density lipoprotein-uptaking capacity following endothelial differentiation. However, UC-MSCs had higher proliferative potential than BM-MSCs. Both real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction and immunocytochemical analyses demonstrated that UC-MSCs had higher expression of the endothelial-specific markers than BM-MSCs following endothelial differentiation. Both Matrigel and coculture angiogenesis assays showed that UC-MSCs and BM-MSCs after endothelial differentiation were able to form the capillary network and differentiated UC-MSCs had significantly higher total tubule length, diameter, and area than differentiated BM-MSCs.
Conclusion: These results showed that UC-MSCs had higher endothelial differentiation potential than BM-MSCs. Therefore, UC-MSCs are more favorable choice than BM-MSCs for neovascularization of engineered tissues.