Background: Adult human mesenchymal stem cells retrieved, from the post-partum human
umbilical cord Wharton jelly (hUCMS), have recently gained growing interest due to their morphological
and functional properties.
Objective: The main purpose of our work was to examine morphology and functional properties of
hUCMS retrieved from healthy women as compared to those with obesity, or gestational or type 2 diabetes
mellitus, under fair metabolic control. Possible differences between groups could shed light into
the potential use of these cells for the cell therapy of a variety of diseases, regardless of the obesity/
diabetes status of the donor mothers. Additionally, information on how the maternal disease may
affect the cord-derived stem cells, hence possibly newborn children would be important.
Methods: We have studied obese/diabetic or normal donor post-partum umbilical cord-derived
hUCMS, either in basal or during differentiation protocols into several cell phenotypes and the definitive
endoderm. Immunomodulatory properties of these cells, in terms of inhibition of activated lymphocyte
proliferation, also was examined.
Results: According to our preliminary results, there are functional differences, as assessed by cell and
molecular assays, in terms of both, differentiation and immunomodulatory potential, between the cells
derived from normal as compared to obese/diabetic mothers.
Conclusion: The findings seemingly indicate that the uterine environment of obese/diabetic mothers is
quite distant from normal, regardless of metabolic control. Hence hUCMS extracted from
obese/diabetic mothers do not appear to be suitable for cell therapy clinical protocols but more studies