Wharton's jelly mesenchymal stromal/stem cells derived under chemically defined animal product-free low oxygen conditions are rich in MSCA-1(+) subpopulation

Regen Med. 2014;9(6):723-32. doi: 10.2217/rme.14.60.


Aim: Umbilical cord contains, within Wharton's jelly (WJ), multipotent mesenchymal stromal/stem cells (MSCs) of fetal origin that can be isolated and expanded in vitro with a minimal manipulation and very high efficiency. Our aim was to develop a highly reproducible protocol that has the unique potential to be scaled up and adapted to cGMP requirements for the use in cellular therapy.

Results: We found that derivation of WJ MSCs under defined conditions in low oxygen resulted in several folds higher populations of MSCA-1(+) cells (6.0-19.2%) when compared with WJ MSCs derived in the presence of serum (0.1-2.8%) or clinical-grade bone marrow (BM) MSCs cultured under atmospheric O2 (20%). We demonstrate that WJ MSCs derived following our protocol display antiproliferative activity similar to clinical-grade BM MSCs. We also show that these WJ MSCs can be differentiated into adipo-, chondro- and osteo-genic lineages.

Conclusion: Easy accessibility, abundance and genetic 'naivety' make WJ MSCs logistically a more attractive source for clinical applications than BM MSCs.

Keywords: MSCA-1; Wharton's jelly; animal product-free culture; chemically defined condition; mesenchymal stem cell; mesenchymal stromal cell; umbilical cord.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Oxygen / metabolism*
  • Serum / chemistry
  • Umbilical Cord / cytology*
  • Wharton Jelly / cytology*


  • Oxygen