Wharton’s Jelly-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells: Phenotypic Characterization and Optimizing Their Therapeutic Potential for Clinical Applications
Dae-Won Kim, Meaghan Staples, Kazutaka Shinozuka, Paolina Pantcheva, Sung-Don Kang and Cesar V. Borlongan

Wharton’s jelly (WJ) is a gelatinous tissue within the umbilical cord that contains myofibroblast-like stromal cells. A unique cell population of WJ that has been suggested as displaying the stemness phenotype is the mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs). Because MSCs’ stemness and immune properties appear to be more robustly expressed and functional which are more comparable with fetal than adult-derived MSCs, MSCs harvested from the “young” WJ are considered much more proliferative, immunosuppressive, and even therapeutically active stem cells than those isolated from older, adult tissue sources such as the bone marrow or adipose. The present review discusses the phenotypic characteristics, therapeutic applications, and optimization of experimental protocols for WJ-derived stem cells. MSCs derived from WJ display promising transplantable features, including ease of sourcing, in vitro expandability, differentiation abilities, immune-evasion and immune-regulation capacities. Accumulating evidence demonstrates that WJ-derived stem cells possess many potential advantages as transplantable cells for treatment of various diseases (e.g., cancer, chronic liver disease, cardiovascular diseases, nerve, cartilage and tendon injury). Additional studies are warranted to translate the use of WJ-derived stem cells for clinical applications.

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Concise Review: Wharton’s Jelly: The Rich, but Enigmatic, Source of Mesenchymal Stromal Cells
John E. Davies, John T. Walker, Armand Keating

The umbilical cord has become an increasingly used source of mesenchymal stromal cells for preclinical and, more recently, clinical studies. Despite the increased activity, several aspects of this cell population have been under-appreciated. Key issues are that consensus on the anatomical structures within the cord is lacking, and potentially different populations are identified as arising from a single source. To help address these points, we propose a histologically based nomenclature for cord structures and provide an analysis of their developmental origins and composition. Methods of cell isolation from Wharton’s jelly are discussed and the immunophenotypic and clonal characteristics of the cells are evaluated. The perivascular origin of the cells is also addressed. Finally, clinical trials with umbilical cord cells are briefly reviewed. Interpreting the outcomes of the many clinical studies that have been undertaken with mesenchymal stromal cells from different tissue sources has been challenging, for many reasons. It is, therefore, particularly important that as umbilical cord cells are increasingly deployed therapeutically, we strive to better understand the derivation and functional characteristics of the cells from this important tissue source.

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Umbilical Cord Tissue Offers the Greatest Number of Harvestable Mesenchymal Stem Cells for Research and Clinical Application: A Literature Review of Different Harvest Sites
C. Thomas Vangsness Jr., M.D., Hal Sternberg, M.D., and Liam Harris, B.S.

Purpose: Recent years have seen dramatic increases in the techniques used to harvest and isolate human mesenchymal stem cells. As the potential therapeutic aspects of these cells further develop, informative data on the differences in yields between tissue harvest sites and methods will become increasingly valuable. We collected and compared data on cell yields from multiple tissue harvest sites to provide insight into the varying levels of mesenchymal stem cells by tissue and offer primary and alternative tissue types for harvest and clinical application. Methods: The PubMed and Medline databases were searched for articles relating to the harvest, isolation, and quantification of human mesenchymal stem cells. Selected articles were analyzed for relevant data, which were categorized according to tissue site and, if possible, standardized to facilitate comparison between sites. Results: Human mesenchymal stem cell levels in tissue varied widely according to tissue site and harvest method. Yields for adipose tissue ranged from 4,737 cells/mL of tissue to 1,550,000 cells/mL of tissue. Yields for bone marrow ranged from 1 to 30 cells/mL to 317,400 cells/mL. Yields for umbilical cord tissue ranged from 10,000 cells/mL to 4,700,000 cells/cm of umbilical cord. Secondary tissue harvest sites such as placental tissue and synovium yielded results ranging from 1,000 cells/mL to 30,000 cells/mL. Conclusions: Variations in allogeneic mesenchymal stem cell harvest levels from human tissues reflect the evolving nature of the field, patient demographic characteristics, and differences in harvest and isolation techniques. At present, Wharton’s jelly tissue yields the highest concentration of allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells whereas adipose tissue yields the highest levels of autologous mesenchymal stem cells per milliliter of tissue. Clinical Relevance: This comparison of stem cell levels from the literature offers a primer and guide for harvesting mesenchymal stem cells. Larger mesenchymal stem cell yields are more desirable for research and clinical application.

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Effect of Aging on Stem Cells
Abu Shufian Ishtiaq Ahmed, Matilda HC Sheng, Samiksha Wasnik, David J Baylink, Kin-Hing William Lau

Pluripotent stem cells have the remarkable self-renewal ability and are capable of differentiating into multiple diverse cells. There is increasing evidence that the aging process can have adverse effects on stem cells. As stem cells age, their renewal ability deteriorates and their ability to differentiate into the various cell types is altered. Accordingly, it is suggested aging-induced deterioration of stem cell functions may play a key role in the pathophysiology of the various aging-associated disorders. Understanding the role of the aging process in deterioration of stem cell function is crucial, not only in understanding the pathophysiology of agingas­sociated disorders, but also in future development of novel effective stem cell-based therapies to treat aging associated diseases. This review article first focuses on the basis of the various aging disease-related stem cell dysfunction. It then addresses the several concepts on the potential mechanism that causes aging-related stem cell dysfunction. It also briefly discusses the current potential therapies under development for aging-associated stem cell defects.

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Consequences of Telomere Shortening During Lifespan
Catarina M Henriques and Miguel Godinho Ferreira

Telomerase expression is restricted in human cells and so telomeres shorten throughout our lives, providing a tumour suppressor mechanism that limits cell proliferation. As a trade-off, continuous telomere erosion results in replicative senescence and contributes to ageing. Recently, telomerase therapies were proposed as a valid approach to rescue degenerative phenotypes caused by telomere dysfunction. However, systemic effects initiated by short telomeres may prove dominant in limiting tissue renewal in the whole organism. Most of our knowledge of telomere biology derives from mouse models that do not rely on telomere exhaustion for controlling cell proliferation and tissue homeostasis. In order to understand the impact of telomere shortening in natural ageing, we need to investigate animal models that, like humans, have evolved to have telomere length as a cell division clock.

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Mesenchymal Stem Cells: Mechanisms of Inflammation
Nora G. Singer and Arnold I. Caplan

In adults, human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) are found in vivo at low frequency and are defined by their capacity to differentiate into bone, cartilage, and adipose tissue, depending on the stimuli and culture conditions under which they are expanded. Although MSCs were initially hypothesized to be the panacea for regenerating tissues, MSCs appear to be more important in therapeutics to regulate the immune response invoked in settings such as tissue injury, transplantation, and autoimmunity. MSCs have been used therapeutically in clinical trials and subsequently in practice to treat graft-versus-host disease following bone marrow transplantation. Reports of successful immune modulation suggest efficacy in a wide range of autoimmune conditions, such as demyelinating neurological disease (multiple sclerosis), systemic lupus erythematosus, and Crohn’s disease, among others. This review provides background information about hMSCs and also describes their putative mechanisms of action in inflammation. We provide a summary of ongoing clinical trials to allow (a) full comprehension of the range of diseases in which hMSC therapy may be beneficial and (b) identification of gaps in our knowledge about the mechanisms of action of therapeutic MSCs in disease.

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Applications of Amniotic Membrane and Fluid in Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine
Kerry Rennie, Andree Gruslin, Markus Hengstschlager, Duanqing Pei, Jinglei Cai, Toshio Nikaido, and Mahmud Bani-Yaghoub

The amniotic membrane (AM) and amniotic fluid (AF) have a long history of use in surgical and prenatal diagnostic applications, respectively. In addition, the discovery of cell populations in AM and AF which are widely accessible, nontumorigenic and capable of differentiating into a variety of cell types has stimulated a flurry of research aimed at characterizing the cells and evaluating their potential utility in regenerative medicine. While a major focus of research has been the use of amniotic membrane and fluid in tissue engineering and cell replacement, AM- and AF-derived cells may also have capabilities in protecting and stimulating the repair of injured tissues via paracrine actions, and acting as vectors for biodelivery of exogenous factors to treat injury and diseases. Much progress has been made since the discovery of AM and AF cells with stem cell characteristics nearly a decade ago, but there remain a number of problematic issues stemming from the inherent heterogeneity of these cells as well as inconsistencies in isolation and culturing methods which must be addressed to advance the field towards the development of cell-based therapies. Here, we provide an overview of the recent progress and future perspectives in the use of AM- and AF-derived cells for therapeutic applications.

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Minimal criteria for defining multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells. The International Society for Cellular Therapy position statement
M Dominici, K Le Blanc, I Mueller, I Slaper-Cortenbach, FC Marini, DS Krause, RJ Deans, A Keating, DJ Prockop and EM Horwitz

The considerable therapeutic potential of human multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) has generated markedly increasing interest in a wide variety of biomedical disciplines. However, investigators report studies of MSC using different methods of isolation and expansion, and different approaches to characterizing the cells. Thus it is increasingly difficult to compare and contrast study outcomes, which hinders progress in the field. To begin to address this issue, the Mesenchymal and Tissue Stem Cell Committee of the International Society for Cellular Therapy proposes minimal criteria to define human MSC. First, MSC must be plastic-adherent when maintained in standard culture conditions. Second, MSC must express CD105, CD73 and CD90, and lack expression of CD45, CD34, CD14 or CD11b, CD79a or CD19 and HLA-DR surface molecules. Third, MSC must differentiate to osteoblasts, adipocytes and chondroblasts in vitro. While these criteria will probably require modification as new knowledge unfolds, we believe this minimal set of standard criteria will foster a more uniform characterization of MSC and facilitate the exchange of data among investigators.

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Cytokines, Inflammation and Pain
Jun-Ming Zhang, MSc, MD and Jianxiong An, MSc, MD

Cytokines are small secreted proteins released by cells have a specific effect on the interactions and communications between cells. Cytokine is a general name; other names include lymphokine (cytokines made by lymphocytes), monokine (cytokines made by monocytes), chemokine (cytokines with chemotactic activities), and interleukin (cytokines made by one leukocyte and acting on other leukocytes). Cytokines may act on the cells that secrete them (autocrine action), on nearby cells (paracrine action), or in some instances on distant cells (endocrine action). There are both proinflammatory cytokines and anti-inflammatory cytokines. There is significant evidence showing that certain cytokines/chemokines are involved in not only the initiation but also the persistence of pathologic pain by directly activating nociceptive sensory neurons. Certain inflammatory cytokines are also involved in nerve-injury/inflammation-induced central sensitization, and are related to the development of contralateral hyperalgesia/allodynia. The discussion presented in this chapter describes several key pro-inflammatory cytokines/chemokines and anti-inflammatory cytokines, their relation with pathological pain in animals and human patients, and possible underlying mechanisms.

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Intramuscular administration potentiates extended dwell time of mesenchymal stromal cells compared to other routes
Lorena R. Braid, Catherine A. Wood, Danielle M. Wiese and Barry N. Ford

Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) offer great potential for diverse clinical applications. However, conventional systemic infusion of MSCs limits their therapeutic benefit, since intravenously (IV) infused cells become entrapped in the lungs where their dwell time is short. Methods. To explore possible alternatives to IV infusion, we used in vivo optical imaging to track the bio-distribution and survival of 1 million bioluminescent MSCs administered IV, intraperitoneally (IP), subcutaneously (SC) and intramuscularly (IM) in healthy athymic mice. Results. IV-infused MSCs were undetectable within days of administration, whereas MSCs implanted IP or SC were only detected for 3 to 4 weeks. In contrast, MSCs sourced from human umbilical cord matrix or bone marrow survived more than 5 months in situ when administered IM. Longterm survival was optimally achieved using low passage cells delivered IM. However, MSCs could undergo approximately 30 doublings before their dwell time was compromised. Cryo-preserved MSCs administered IM promptly after thaw were predominantly cleared after 3 days, whereas equivalent cells cultured overnight prior to implantation survived more than 3 months. Discussion. The IM route supports prolonged cell survival of both neo-natal and adult-derived MSCs, although short-term MSC survival was comparable between all tested routes up to day 3. IM implantation presents a useful alternative to achieve clinical benefits from prolonged MSC dwell time at a homeostatic implant site and is a minimally invasive delivery route suitable for many applications. However, optimized thaw protocols that restore full biological potential of cryo-preserved MSC therapies prior to implantation must be developed.

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