In recent years, human umbilical cord blood has emerged as a rich source of stem, stromal and immune cells for cell-based therapy. Among the stem cells from umbilical cord blood, CD45+ multipotent stem cells and CD90+ mesenchymal stem cells have the potential to treat type I diabetes mellitus (T1DM), to correct autoimmune dysfunction and replenish β-cell numbers and function. In this review, we compare the general characteristics of umbilical cord blood-derived multipotent stem cells (UCB-SCs) and umbilical cord blood-derived mesenchymal stem cells (UCB-MSCs) and introduce their applications in T1DM. Although there are some differences in surface marker expression between UCB-SCs and UCB-MSCs, the two cell types display similar functions such as suppressing function of stimulated lymphocytes and imparting differentiation potential to insulin-producing cells (IPCs) in the setting of low immunogenicity, thereby providing a promising and safe approach for T1DM therapy.
Keywords: Immunomodulation; Insulin-producing cells; Mesenchymal stem cells; Multipotent stem cells; Type 1 diabetes mellitus; Umbilical cord blood.