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Stem Cells Dev. 2019 Feb 1;28(3):227-237. doi: 10.1089/scd.2018.0135. Epub 2019 Jan 14.

Equine Cord Blood Mesenchymal Stromal Cells Have Greater Differentiation and Similar Immunosuppressive Potential to Cord Tissue Mesenchymal Stromal Cells.

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Department of Biomedical Sciences, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada.


Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) are the most common cell population studied for therapeutic use in veterinary medicine. MSCs obtained from neonatal sources such as umbilical cord tissue (CT-MSCs) or cord blood (CB-MSCs) are appealing due to the non-invasive nature of procurement and the time allowed for characterization of cells before use. However, it remains unclear as to whether CB- or CT-MSCs have equivalent progenitor and non-progenitor functions. CB-MSCs have been shown to have superior chondrogenic potential to MSCs from other sources, whereas their immunomodulatory capacity does not seem to vary significantly. Using equine CB-MSCs and CT-MSCs from the same donors, we hypothesized that MSCs from both sources would have a similar immunophenotype, that CB-MSCs would be more amenable to differentiation, and that they can equally suppress lymphocyte proliferation. We evaluated cells from both sources for "classic" equine MSC markers CD90, CD105, CD29, and CD44, as well as pericyte markers CD146, NG2, and α-SMA. Contrary to our hypothesis, CB-MSCs showed mid- to high expression of pericyte surface markers CD146 and NG2, whereas expression in CT-MSCs was absent. On trilineage differentiation, CB-MSCs were more osteogenic and chondrogenic based on alkaline phosphatase activity and glycosaminoglycan content, respectively. Finally, using a mononuclear cell (MNC) suppression assay, we determined that both CB-MSCs and CT-MSCs are capable of suppressing stimulated MNC proliferation to a similar degree. We have determined that the choice of MSC tissue source should be made with the intended application in mind. This appears to be particularly relevant if pursuing a progenitor-based treatment strategy.


differentiation; horse; immunomodulation; mesenchymal stromal cells; umbilical cord


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