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Bone Marrow Transplant. 2001 Jan;27(1):7-14.

Bigger is better: maternal and neonatal predictors of hematopoietic potential of umbilical cord blood units.

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University of Massachusetts Cancer Center, Worcester, MA, USA.


Umbilical cord blood (CB) is a useful stem cell source for patients without matched family donors. CB banking is expensive, however, because only a small percentage of the cord units stored are used for transplantation. In this study, we determined whether maternal factors, such as race, age, and smoking status have an effect on laboratory parameters of hematopoietic potential, such as viability, cell counts, CD34+ cell counts, and CFU-GM. We studied the effect of neonatal characteristics such as birth order, birth weight, gestational age, and sex of the baby on the same laboratory parameters. Race and maternal age had no effect on these laboratory parameters. In multivariate analysis, babies of longer gestational age had higher cell counts, but lower CD34+ cell counts and CFU-GM. Bigger babies had higher cell counts, more CD34+ cells, and more CFU-GM. Women with fewer previous live births also produced cord units with higher cell counts, CFU-GM, and CD34+ cell counts. Specifically, each 500 g increase in birth weight contributed to a 28% increase in CD34+ cell counts, each week of gestation contributed to a 9% decrease in CD34+cell counts, and each previous birth contributed to a 17% decrease in CD34+ cell counts (all P < 0.05). These data may be used to select the optimal cord blood donors and allow CB banks efficient resource allocation.

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