Umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells: the new gold standard for mesenchymal stem cell-based therapies?

Tissue Eng Part B Rev. 2014 Oct;20(5):523-44. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEB.2013.0664. Epub 2014 Apr 22.


Due to their self-renewal capacity, multilineage differentiation potential, paracrine effects, and immunosuppressive properties, mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) are an attractive and promising tool for regenerative medicine. MSCs can be isolated from various tissues but despite their common immunophenotypic characteristics and functional properties, source-dependent differences in MSCs properties have recently emerged and lead to different clinical applications. Considered for a long time as a medical waste, umbilical cord appears these days as a promising source of MSCs. Several reports have shown that umbilical cord-derived MSCs are more primitive, proliferative, and immunosuppressive than their adult counterparts. In this review, we aim at synthesizing the differences between umbilical cord MSCs and MSCs from other sources (bone marrow, adipose tissue, periodontal ligament, dental pulp,…) with regard to their proliferation capacity, proteic and transcriptomic profiles, and their secretome involved in their regenerative, homing, and immunomodulatory capacities. Although umbilical cord MSCs are until now not particularly used as an MSC source in clinical practice, accumulating evidence shows that they may have a therapeutic advantage to treat several diseases, especially autoimmune and neurodegenerative diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / metabolism
  • Cell- and Tissue-Based Therapy / standards*
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation / standards*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Umbilical Cord / cytology*
  • Wharton Jelly / cytology


  • Antineoplastic Agents