Assessment of umbilical cord tissue as a source of mesenchymal stem cell/endothelial cell mixtures for bone regeneration

Regen Med. 2013 Sep;8(5):569-81. doi: 10.2217/rme.13.47.


Aim: To enumerate and characterize mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and endothelial cells (ECs) in umbilical cord (UC) tissue digests.

Materials & methods: Cultured UC cells were characterized phenotypically, and functionally by using 48-gene arrays. Native MSCs and ECs were enumerated using flow cytometry.

Results: Compared with bone marrow (BM) MSCs, UC MSCs displayed significantly lower (range 4-240-fold) basal levels of bone-related transcripts, but their phenotypes were similar (CD73⁺, CD105⁺, CD90⁺, CD45⁻ and CD31⁻). UC MSCs responded well to osteogenic induction, but day 21 postinduction levels remained below those achieved by BM MSCs. The total yield of native UC MSCs (CD90⁺, CD45⁻ and CD235α⁻) and ECs (CD31⁺, CD45⁻ and CD235α⁻) exceeded 150 and 15 million cells/donation, respectively. Both UC MSCs and ECs expressed CD146.

Conclusion: While BM MSCs are more predisposed to osteogenesis, UC tissue harbors large numbers of MSCs and ECs; such minimally manipulated 'off-the-shelf' cellular mixtures can be used for regenerating bone in patients with compromised vascular supply.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology
  • Bone Marrow Cells / metabolism
  • Bone Regeneration / genetics
  • Bone Regeneration / physiology*
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Endothelial Cells / cytology*
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Osseointegration / genetics
  • Osteogenesis / genetics
  • Phenotype
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Umbilical Cord / cytology*