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Int J Stem Cells. 2019 Jul 31;12(2):218-226. doi: 10.15283/ijsc18034.

Mesenchymal Stem Cells from the Wharton's Jelly of the Human Umbilical Cord: Biological Properties and Therapeutic Potential.

Author information

1
Department of Medicine, Surgery and Dentistry, University of Salerno, Salerno, Italy.
2
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Azienda Ospedaliera di Rilievo Nazionale e di Alta SpecialitĂ  "San Giuseppe Moscati", Avellino, Italy.
3
Orthopedic Biotechnology Laboratory, Galeazzi Orthopedic Institute, Milan, Italy.

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.

KEYWORDS:

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

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