Substantial inconsistencies in mesenchymal stem (stromal) cell (MSC) therapy reported in early translational and clinical studies may indicate need for selection of the proper cell population for any particular therapeutic purpose. In the present study we have examined stromal stem cells derived either from umbilical cord Wharton's Jelly (WJ-MSC) or bone marrow (BM-MSC) of adult, healthy donors. The cells characterized in accordance with the International Society for Cellular Therapy (ISCT) indications as well as other phenotypic and functional parameters have been compared under strictly controlled culture conditions. WJ-MSC, in comparison with BM-MSC, exhibited a higher proliferation rate, a greater expansion capability being additionally stimulated under low-oxygen atmosphere, enhanced neurotrophic factors gene expression and spontaneous tendency toward a neural lineage differentiation commitment confirmed by protein and gene marker induction. Our data suggest that WJ-MSC may represent an example of immature-type "pre-MSC," where a substantial cellular component is embryonic-like, pluripotent derivatives with the default neural-like differentiation. These cells may contribute in different extents to nearly all classical MSC populations adversely correlated with the age of cell donors. Our data suggest that neuro-epithelial markers, like nestin, stage specific embryonic antigens-4 or α-smooth muscle actin expressions, may serve as useful indicators of MSC culture neuro-regeneration-associated potency.
Keywords: Bone marrow mesenchymal stem (stromal) cells; Comparative neuroprotective potential; Default neural differentiation; Wharton's Jelly mesenchymal stem (stromal) cells.
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