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Haematologica. 2009 Dec;94(12):1649-60. doi: 10.3324/haematol.2009.006171. Epub 2009 Sep 22.

Generation of mesenchymal stromal cells in the presence of platelet lysate: a phenotypic and functional comparison of umbilical cord blood- and bone marrow-derived progenitors.

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Oncoematologia Pediatrica, Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, Università di Pavia, Pavia, Italy.



Mesenchymal stromal cells are employed in various different clinical settings in order to modulate immune response. However, relatively little is known about the mechanisms responsible for their immunomodulatory effects, which could be influenced by both the cell source and culture conditions.


We tested the ability of a 5% platelet lysate-supplemented medium to support isolation and ex vivo expansion of mesenchymal stromal cells from full-term umbilical-cord blood. We also investigated the biological/functional properties of umbilical cord blood mesenchymal stromal cells, in comparison with platelet lysate-expanded bone marrow mesenchymal stromal cells.


The success rate of isolation of mesenchymal stromal cells from umbilical cord blood was in the order of 20%. These cells exhibited typical morphology, immunophenotype and differentiation capacity. Although they have a low clonogenic efficiency, umbilical cord blood mesenchymal stromal cells may possess high proliferative potential. The genetic stability of these cells from umbilical cord blood was demonstrated by a normal molecular karyotype; in addition, these cells do not express hTERT and telomerase activity, do express p16(ink4a) protein and do not show anchorage-independent cell growth. Concerning alloantigen-specific immune responses, umbilical cord blood mesenchymal stromal cells were able to: (i) suppress T- and NK-lymphocyte proliferation, (ii) decrease cytotoxic activity and (iii) only slightly increase interleukin-10, while decreasing interferon-gamma secretion, in mixed lymphocyte culture supernatants. While an indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase-specific inhibitor did not reverse mesenchymal stromal cell-induced suppressive effects, a prostaglandin E(2)-specific inhibitor hampered the suppressive effect of both umbilical cord blood- and bone marrow-mesenchymal stromal cells on alloantigen-induced cytotoxic activity. Mesenchymal stromal cells from both sources expressed HLA-G.


Umbilical cord blood- and bone marrow-mesenchymal stromal cells may differ in terms of clonogenic efficiency, proliferative capacity and immunomodulatory properties; these differences may be relevant for clinical applications.

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