Mesenchymal stem cells from umbilical cord blood: parameters for isolation, characterization and adipogenic differentiation

Cytotechnology. 2012 Oct;64(5):511-21. doi: 10.1007/s10616-012-9428-3. Epub 2012 Feb 12.


Isolation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from umbilical cord blood (UCB) from full-term deliveries is a laborious, time-consuming process that results in a low yield of cells. In this study we identified parameters that can be helpful for a successful isolation of UCB-MSCs. According to our findings, chances for a well succeeded isolation of these cells are higher when MSCs were isolated from UCB collected from normal full-term pregnancies that did not last over 37 weeks. Besides the duration of pregnancy, blood volume and storage period of the UCB should also be considered for a successful isolation of these cells. Here, we found that the ideal blood volume collected should be above 80 mL and the period of storage should not exceed 6 h. We characterized UCB-MSCs by morphologic, immunophenotypic, protein/gene expression and by adipogenic differentiation potential. Isolated UCB-MSCs showed fibroblast-like morphology and the capacity of differentiating into adipocyte-like cells. Looking for markers of the undifferentiated status of UCB-MSCs, we analyzed the UCB-MSCs' protein expression profile along different time periods of the differentiation process into adipocyte-like cells. Our results showed that there is a decrease in the expression of the markers CD73, CD90, and CD105 that correlates to the degree of differentiation of UCB-MSCs We suggest that CD90 can be used as a mark to follow the differentiation commitment degree of MSCs. Microarray results showed an up-regulation of genes related to the adipogenesis process and to redox metabolism in the adipocyte-like differentiated MSCs. Our study provides information on a group of parameters that may help with successful isolation and consequently with characterization of the differentiated/undifferentiated status of UCB-MSCs, which will be useful to monitor the differentiation commitment of UCB-MSC and further facilitate the application of those cells in stem-cell therapy.