Mesenchymal stem cells from the Wharton's jelly of the human umbilical cord: Biological properties and therapeutic potential

Luigi Marino, Maria Antonietta Castaldi, Rosa Rosamilio, Enrico Ragni, Rosa Vitolo, Caterina Fulgione, Salvatore Giovanni Castaldi, Bianca Serio, Rosario Bianco, Maurizio Guida, Carmine Selleri

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Wharton's jelly mesenchymal stem cells (WJ-MSCs) are a class of stem cells with high differentiative potential, an immuno-privileged status and easy access for collection, which raise no legal or ethical issues. WJ-MSCs exhibit several features of embryonic stem cells, both in the phenotypic and genetic aspects, with only a few differences, such as a shorter doubling time and a more extensive ex vivo expansion capacity. WJ-MSCs have immunomodulatory properties, involving both innate and adaptive immune responses. This review focuses on the role of WJ-MSCs in the management of graft-versus-host disease (GvHD), a life-threatening complication of the allogenic transplantation of hematopoietic stem cells. Different studies documented the beneficial effect of the infusion of WJ-MSCs, even when not fully HLA identical, in patients with severe GvHD, refractory to standard treatment. Finally, we summarized current ongoing clinical trials with WJ-MSCs and their potential in regenerative medicine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218-226
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Stem Cells
Volume12
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • GvHD
  • Human umbilical cord blood
  • Immunomodulation
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • WJ-MSCs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

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