Isolation and Characterization of Mesenchymal Stem Cells from Human Umbilical Cord Wharton’s Jelly

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, Cellular and Molecular Research Center, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran.

2 Department of Biology, College of Science, Fars Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Fars, Fars, Iran.


Background and Objectives: Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs).derived from Wharton’s Jelly umbilical cord like other MSCs sources are ideal and promising sources of MSCs for regenerative medicine due to a unique set of properties such as the capacity for self-renewal, high plasticity and multi lineage differentiation, immunomodulatory function and flexibility of genetic modification.
Subjects and Methods: MSCs were isolated from Wharton’s Jelly umbilical cord via cell migration of tissue piece (explant) method and differentiated into different lineages. Flow cytometric analysis and real time PCR technique were used for identification and determination of their multi-potential capacity, specific markers and self-renewal ability.
Results: MSCs were successfully isolated from umbilical cord. The results showed, these cells differentiated into adipocyte and osteoblast in appropriate inductions. Flow cytometry analysis showed the expression of CD73 but not that of CD31. Also real time PCR analysis showed significant expression of Nanog and Oct4 genes in these cells than in differentiated tissues.
Conclusion: Regarding to new methods of treatment, isolation, characterization and generation of MSCs in large scale are of great importance. Wharton’s Jelly MSCs could be a potential promising source for cell therapy and also research studies.


1-Meyer FA, Laver-Rudich Z, Tanenbaum R. Evidence for a mechanical coupling of glycoprotein microfibrils with collagen fibrils in Wharton's jelly. Biochim Biophys Acta 1983;755(3):376-87.
2-Wang HS, Hung SC, Peng ST, Huang CC, Wei HM, Guo YJ, et al.  Mesenchymal stem cells in the Wharton's jelly of the human umbilical cord. Stem Cells 2004;22(7):1330-7.
3-Conconi MT, Burra P, Di Liddo R, Calore C, Turetta M, Bellini S, et al. CD105(+) cells from Wharton's jelly show in vitro and in vivo myogenic differentiative potential. Int J Mol Med 2006;18(6):1089-96.
4-Lu LL, Liu YJ, Yang SG, Zhao QJ, Wang X, Gong W, et al. Isolation and characterization of human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells with hematopoiesis-supportive function and other potentials. Haematologica 2006;91(8):1017-26.
5-Anzalone R, Lo Iacono M, Loria T, Di Stefano A, Giannuzzi P, Farina F, et al. Wharton's Jelly mesenchymal stem cells as candidates for beta cells regeneration: extending the differentiative and immunomodulatory benefits of adult mesenchymal stem cells for the treatment of type 1 diabetes. Stem Cell Rev 2011;7(2):342-63.
6-Ma L, Feng XY, Cui BI, Law F, Jiang XW, Yang LY, et al. Human umbilical cord Wharton's jelly-derived mesenchymal stem cells differentiation into nerve-like cells. Chin Med J )Engl) 2005;118(23):1987-93.
7-Karahuseyinoglu S, Cinar O, Kilic E, Kara F, Akay GG, Demiralp DO, et al. Biology of stem cells in human umbilical cord stroma: in situ and in vitro surveys. Stem Cells 2007;25(2):319-31.
8-Fan CG, Zhang QJ, Zhou JR. Therapeutic potentials of mesenchymal stem cells derived from human umbilical cord. Stem Cell Rev 2011;7(1):195-207.
9-Fong CY, Chak LL, Biswas A, Tan A, Gauthaman J, Chan K, et al. Human Wharton's Jelly stem cells have unique transcriptome profiles compared to human embryonic stem cells and other mesenchymal stem cells. Stem Cell Rev 2011;7(1):1-16.
10-Uccelli A, Pistoia V, Moretta L. Mesenchymal stem cells: a new strategy for immunosuppression? Trends Immunol 2007;28(5):219-26.
11-Herrero C, Pérez-Simón JA. Immunomodulatory effect of mesenchymal stem cells.  Braz J Med Biol Res 2010;43(5):425-30.
12-Sensebé L, Krampera M, Schrezenmeier H, Bourin P, Giordano R. Mesenchymal stem cells for clinical application. Vox Sang 2010;98(2):93-107.
13-Uccelli A, Moretta L, Pistoia V. Immunoregulatory function of mesenchymal stem cells. Eur J Immunol 2006;36(10):2566-73. 
14-Yang S, Huang S, Feng C, Fu X. Umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells: strategies, challenges, and potential for cutaneous regeneration. Front Med 2012;6(1):41–7.
15-Forraz N, McGuckin CP. The umbilical cord: a rich and ethical stem cell source to advance regenerative medicine. Cell Prolif 2011;44 Suppl 1:60–9.
16-Seshareddy K, Troyer D, Weiss ML. Method to isolate mesenchymal-like cells from Wharton's Jelly of umbilical cord. Methods Cell Biol 2008;86:101-19.
17-Can A, Balci D. Isolation, culture, and characterization of human umbilical cord stroma-derived mesenchymal stem cells. Methods Mol Biol 2011;698:51-62.
18-Koliakos I, Tsagias N, Karagiannis V. Mesenchymal cells isolation from Wharton's jelly, in perspective to clinical applications. J Biol Res 2011;16:194-201.
19-De Bruyn C, Najar M, Raicevic G, Meuleman N,  Pieters K, Stamatopoulos B, et al. A rapid, simple, and reproducible method for the isolation of mesenchymal stromal cells from Wharton's Jelly without enzymatic treatment. Stem cells Dev 2011;20(3):547-57.
20-Taghizadeh RR, Cetrulo KJ, Cetrulo CL. Wharton's Jelly stem cells: future clinical applications. Placenta 2011;32 Suppl 4:311-5.
21-Tong CK, Vellasamy S, Tan BC, Abdullah M, Vidyadaran S, Seow HF, et al. Generation of mesenchymal stem cell from human umbilical cord tissue using a combination of enzymatic and mechanical disassociation method. Cell Biol Int 2011;35(3):221-6.
22-Dominici M, Le Blanc K, Mueller I, Slaper-Cortenbach I, Marini F, Krause D, et al. Minimal criteria for defining multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells. The International Society for Cellular therapy position statement. Cytotherapy 2006;8(4):315-7.