Mesenchymal Stromal Cells (MSC) are key candidates for cellular therapies. Although most therapeutic applications have focused on adult bone marrow derived MSC, increasing evidence suggests that MSC are present within a wide range of tissues. Umbilical cord blood (CB) has been proven to be a valuable source of hematopoietic stem cells, but its therapeutic potential extends beyond the hematopoietic component suggesting regenerative potential in solid organs as well. There is evidence that other stem or progenitor populations, such as MSC, exist in CB which might be responsible for these effects. Many different stem and progenitor cell populations have been postulated with potential ranging from embryonic like to lineage-committed progenitor cells. Based on the confusing data, this review focuses on a human CB derived, plastic adherent fibroblastoid population expressing similar characteristics to bone marrow derived MSC. It concentrates especially on concepts of isolation and expansion, comparing the phenotype with bone marrow derived MSC, describing the differentiation capacity and finally in the last the therapeutic potential with regard to regenerative medicine, stromal support, immune modulation and gene therapy.
immunophenotype, Regenerative Medicine, Hematopoiesis, Immune Modulation, Gene Therapy
Institute of Transfusion Medicine and Immunology, University of Heidelberg, Medical Faculty Mannheim, Mannheim D-68167, Germany.