Stem Cell Reviews

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 87–92 | Cite as

Umbilical cord cells as a source of cardiovascular tissue engineering

  • Christian Breymann
  • Dörthe Schmidt
  • S. P. Hoerstrup
Original Article


There is increasing scientific evidence that human umbilical cord cells are a valuable source of adult stem cells that can be used for various implications including regenerative medicine and tissue engineering. The review describes the role of progenitor cells (mesenchymal, endothelial, prenatal) for the use in cardiovascular tissue engineering, i.e., the formation of large vessels and heart valves from umbilical cord cells.

Currently used replacements in cardiovascular surgery are made of foreign materials with well known drawbacks such as thrombo-embolic complications, infection, loss of functional and biological properties, and others. Especially in the field of replacements in congenital cardiac defects, there would be a need of materials which have the advantage of optimal biological and mechanical properties. In the case of human umbilical cord cells, autologous cells can be used by minimally invasive procedures. The cells have excellent growth capacities and form a neo-matrix with excellent mechanical properties. For optimal growth and modeling, scaffolds are required with high biocompatibility and biodegradability, which allow cell attachment, ingrowth, and organization. Nutrients and waste must be easily transported and cells should be in entire contact with host's body. Finally, regenerated materials can be fully incorporated and the scaffold is completely replaced. Besides these cell and scaffold requirements, feto-maternal conditions and risk factors concerning deriving stem cells are of major interest. There are still many open questions concerning whether and how maternal conditions such as infection (viral or bacterial) or gestational age of the newborn influence stem cell harvesting and quality. If these cells will be used for the construction of replacement materials, it is clear that very strict criteria and protocols be introduced enabling the promising step from isolated cells to a therapeutic device such as a new heart valve. It is hoped that it will be only a question of time until human umbilical cord cells will be used frequently as the source of cardiovascular tissues among others in the clinical setting of treating congenital heart defects.

Index Entries

Human umbilical cord stem cells tissue engineering cardiovascular heart defect congenital 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Fauza D. Best Practice Clin Obstet Gynaecol 2004;18:877–891.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Korbling M, Robinson S, Estrov Z. Cytotherapy 2005; 7(3):258–261.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Maver J, Sem Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 1995;7(130–132).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Schoen FJ LR. J Biomed Mater Res 1999;47:439–465.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Hoerstrup SP, Sodian R, Sperling JS et al. Tissue Eng 2000b; 6:75–79.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Zund G, Hoerstrup SP, Schoeberlein A, et al. Eur J Cardiothorac Surg 1998;13:160–164.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Shinoka T, Ma PX, Shum-Tim D, et al. Circulation 1996;94 (9 Suppl):164–168.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Shinoka T, Shum-Tim D, Ma PX, et al. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 1998;115:536–546.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Horstrup S, Kadner A, Breymann C. Ann Thor Surg 2002;74(1):46–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Kadner A, Hoerstrup S, Tracy J, et al. Ann Thorac Surg 2002;74:S1422-S1428.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Kadner A, Zund G, Maurus C, et al. Eur J Cardio-Thorac Surg 2004;25:635–641.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Schmidt D, Breymann C, Weber A, et al. Ann Thorac Surg 2004;78:2094–2098.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Schmidt D, Mol A, Neuenschwander S, et al. Eur J Cardio-Thorac Surg 2005;27:795–800.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Schmidt D, Mol A, Breymann C, et al. Circulation 2006;114:1125–1131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Sanatloya J, Leon JD. J Soc Gynecological Invest 2005;12(2):237A.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Solves P, Perales A, Moraga R. Acta Haematol 2005;113(4):241–246.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Breymann
    • 1
  • Dörthe Schmidt
    • 2
  • S. P. Hoerstrup
    • 2
  1. 1.Feto-Maternal Haematology Research Group, Obstetric ResearchUniversity Hospital Zurich and GGS (Obstetrics and Gynaecology Center Seefeld/Hirslanden ClinicZurich
  2. 2.Department of Surgical Research and Clinic for Cardiovascular SurgeryUniversity Hospital ZurichZurichSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations