Immune reconstitution after cord blood transplantation: peculiarities, clinical implications and management strategies

Cytotherapy. 2015 Jun;17(6):711-722. doi: 10.1016/j.jcyt.2015.03.614.


Umbilical cord blood (UCB) is now widely used as an alternative hematopoietic stem cell source for patients lacking closely matched related or unrelated adult donors. UCB transplantation has traditionally been associated with delayed engraftment, poor immune reconstitution and consequent increased risk of infection. More recent clinical studies, however, suggest that conditioning regimens and in particular the omission of in vivo T-cell depletion may play a crucial role in post-transplant T-cell expansion, facilitating a uniquely rapid immune recovery after UCB transplantation. The peculiar characteristics of UCB cells, the importance of thymic function and the role of conditioning regimens and graft-versus-host disease influencing immune reconstitution are described. The last part of the review reports available data on UCB, as well as third-party peripheral blood derived anti-viral cell therapy, which provides a novel approach to rescue UCB recipients with viral complications in the post-transplant period.

Keywords: T cells; immune-reconstitution; serotherapy; stem cell transplantation; thymic function; umbilical cord blood; viral infections.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cord Blood Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Fetal Blood / cytology
  • Fetal Blood / immunology*
  • Fetal Blood / transplantation
  • Humans
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology


  • Cytokines