A chemically defined medium-based strategy to efficiently generate clinically relevant cord blood mesenchymal stromal colonies

Mario Barilani, Cristiana Lavazza, Valentina Boldrin, Enrico Ragni, Valentina Parazzi, Mariacristina Crosti, Elisa Montelatici, Rosaria Giordano, Lorenza Lazzari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


During the last decade it has been demonstrated that mesenchymal progenitors are present and can be isolated also from cord blood (CB). Recently, we managed to set up a standard protocol allowing the isolation of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) with high proliferative potential and multiple differentiation capabilities, whereas the generation rate of MSC-initiating colonies could still be further improved. Herein, we strikingly succeeded in defining some simple and basic culture conditions based on the use of a chemically defined medium that increased the colony isolation efficiency up to almost 80% of processed CB units. Importantly, this result was achieved irrespective of CB unit white blood cell content and time elapsed from delivery, two limiting parameters involved with processing CB units. Thus, this high efficiency is guaranteed without strict selection of the starting material. In addition, since we are profoundly concerned about how different culture conditions can influence cell behavior, we devoted part of this study to in-depth characterization of the established CB-MSC populations to confirm their stemness features in this novel isolation and culture system. Therefore, an extended study of their immunophenotype, including classical pericytic markers, and a detailed molecular analysis addressing telomere length and also stemness-related microRNA contribution were performed. In summary, we propose a straightforward, extremely efficient, and reliable approach to isolate and expand thoroughly characterized CB-MSCs, even when poor-quality CB units are the only available source, or there is no space for an isolation to fail.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1501-1514
Number of pages14
JournalCell Transplantation
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Chemically defined medium
  • Cord blood (CB)
  • Cord blood-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (CB-MSCs)
  • Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs)
  • Stemness potency assay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Cell Biology
  • Transplantation

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