Human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells prevent glucocorticoid-induced osteonecrosis of the femoral head by promoting angiogenesis

J Plast Surg Hand Surg. 2023 Feb-Dec;57(1-6):71-77. doi: 10.1080/2000656X.2021.1981352. Epub 2021 Sep 27.


The impairment of angiogenesis is an outstanding pathogenic characteristic of glucocorticoid (GC)-induced osteonecrosis of the femoral head (ONFH). Human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (hUC-MSCs) have been used in several diseases models, which were reported to be involved in the angiogenesis. However, whether hUC-MSCs suppress the GC-induced ONFH via promoting angiogenesis is still unclear. hUC-MSCs were isolated from the Wharton's jelly using the explant culture method. A GC-induced ONFH model was established in vitro and in vivo. The angiogenesis, proliferation and migration ability of HMECs were determined using the tube-forming, CCK-8, transwell and scratching assays in vitro. The protective role of hUC-MSCs in GC-induced ONFH was evaluated using micro-CT scanning and histological, immunohistochemical (IHC) and Quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) assays in vivo. The results showed that hUC-MSCs treatment improved the tube-forming, proliferation and migration ability of HMECs in vitro. Moreover, hUC-MSCs treatment enhanced the integrity of trabecular bone of the femoral head, and the tube-forming ability in vivo. hUC-MSCs prevent the femoral head against necrosis and damage caused by GCs though promoting angiogenesis.

Keywords: Microvascular; Necrosis; glucocorticoid; hUC-MSCs; osteonecrosis of the femoral head.

MeSH terms

  • Femur Head
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells*
  • Osteonecrosis*
  • Umbilical Cord


  • Glucocorticoids