Unique Features and Clinical Application Prospect of Human Umbilical Cord Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Dilnur Dilxat, Hui Li, Lei Liu


AIM: The purpose of the study was to summarize the unique features of human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (hUC-MSCs) and their clinical application prospect. BACKGROUND: It is well known that stem cells have great potential for self-renewal and multipotential differentiational capability. Over the past several years, extensive preclinical and clinical trials regarding cell-based therapy have been performed. Currently, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from bone marrow have been commonly used as standard sources for cell-based therapies. However, there exist some disadvantages of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) as donor cells, include invasive isolate procedures, limited cell numbers and immune rejection. Therefore, the search for alternative MSCs sources is in urgent need.

METHODS: An electronic search in PubMed and OVID was undertaken in March 2016 using various combinations of the keywords ‘human umbilical cord’, ‘mesenchymal stem cells’ and ‘therapeutic potential of human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells’ during the period 1980 to 2016. The articles that are most relevant to our subject are selected. Moreover, we have hand-searched for additional relevant references that might pertain to hUC-MSCs.

RESULTS: Human umbilical cord ((hUC)) has recently been reported as an ideal substitute to bone marrow as a source of MSCs. Moreover, MSCs harvested from hUC are pluripotent and immunologically naive. The morphology and biological characteristic of hUC-MSCs resembles that of MSCs isolated from bone marrow.

CONCLUSION: Cell-based therapy is an emerging field, which can offer great therapeutic potential in the complex human diseases. Compared with bone marrow, hUC has been considered as an ideal source of MSCs due to their little ethical obstacles, painless procedures involved, lower risk of immune rejection and convenient sources for autologous cell therapy. The rapid development of umbilical cord blood banks appears to provide plentiful supply of stem cells for regenerative medicine and tissue engineering.


Human umbilical cord; Mesenchymal stem cells; Hypoimmunogeic properties; Multipotential differentiation; Therapeutic potential of hUC-MSCs

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