Date: 05 Dec 2008

Simultaneous isolation of vascular endothelial cells and mesenchymal stem cells from the human umbilical cord

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Abstract

The umbilical cord represents the link between mother and fetus during pregnancy. This cord is usually discarded as a biological waste after the child’s birth; however, its importance as a “store house” of stem cells has been explored recently. We developed a method of simultaneous isolation of endothelial cells (ECs) from the vein and mesenchymal stem cells from umbilical cord Wharton’s jelly of the same cord. The isolation protocol has been simplified, modified, and improvised with respect to choice of enzyme and enzyme mixture, digestion time, cell yield, cell growth, and culture medium. Isolated human umbilical vascular ECs (hUVECs) were positive for von-Willibrand factor, a classical endothelial marker, and could form capillary-like structures when seeded on Matrigel, thus proving their functionality. The isolated human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (hUCMSCs) were found positive for CD44, CD90, CD 73, and CD117 and were found negative for CD33, CD34, CD45, and CD105 surface markers; they were also positive for cytoskeleton markers of smooth muscle actin and vimentin. The hUCMSCs showed multilineage differentiation potential and differentiated into adipogenic, chondrogenic, osteogenic, and neuronal lineages under influence of lineage specific differentiation medium. Thus, isolating endothelial cells as well as mesenchymal cells from the same umbilical cord could lead to complete utilization of the available tissue for the tissue engineering and cell therapy.

Editor: J. Denry Sato