Mesenchymal stem cells from human umbilical cord express preferentially secreted factors related to neuroprotection, neurogenesis, and angiogenesis

PLoS One. 2013 Aug 22;8(8):e72604. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0072604. eCollection 2013.


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are promising tools for the treatment of diseases such as infarcted myocardia and strokes because of their ability to promote endogenous angiogenesis and neurogenesis via a variety of secreted factors. MSCs found in the Wharton's jelly of the human umbilical cord are easily obtained and are capable of transplantation without rejection. We isolated MSCs from Wharton's jelly and bone marrow (WJ-MSCs and BM-MSCs, respectively) and compared their secretomes. It was found that WJ-MSCs expressed more genes, especially secreted factors, involved in angiogenesis and neurogenesis. Functional validation showed that WJ-MSCs induced better neural differentiation and neural cell migration via a paracrine mechanism. Moreover, WJ-MSCs afforded better neuroprotection efficacy because they preferentially enhanced neuronal growth and reduced cell apoptotic death of primary cortical cells in an oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD) culture model that mimics the acute ischemic stroke situation in humans. In terms of angiogenesis, WJ-MSCs induced better microvasculature formation and cell migration on co-cultured endothelial cells. Our results suggest that WJ-MSC, because of a unique secretome, is a better MSC source to promote in vivo neurorestoration and endothelium repair. This study provides a basis for the development of cell-based therapy and carrying out of follow-up mechanistic studies related to MSC biology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cells, Cultured
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Culture Media, Conditioned
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic*
  • Neurogenesis*
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Umbilical Cord / cytology*


  • Culture Media, Conditioned

Grant support

This work is supported by National Science Council (NSC; NSC101-2320-B-010-059-MY3, NSC101-2627-B-010-003 and NSC101-2321-B-010-011), Mackay Memorial Hospital (MMH-HB-101-01, MMH-10192 and MMH-100067), Veterans General Hospitals University System of Taiwan Joint Research Program, Tsou’s Foundation (VGHUST102-G7-3-2), National Health Research Institutes (NHRI-EX102-10254SI), UST-University of California San Diego International Center for Excellence in Advanced Bioengineering sponsored by the Taiwan NSC I-RiCE Program (NSC101-2911-I-009-101), and in part a grant from National Yang-Ming University (Ministry of Education, Aim for the Top University Plan). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.