Perinatal and Wharton's jelly-derived mesenchymal stem cells in cartilage regenerative medicine and tissue engineering strategies

Mario Giuffre, Felicia Farina, Rita Anzalone, Francesco Cappello, Giampiero La Rocca, Antonino Di Stefano, Pantaleo Giannuzzi, Melania Lo Iacono, Simona Corrao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Citations (Scopus)


Stem cells can be found in embryonic and extraembryonic tissues as well as in adult organs. In particular,research in the last few years has delineated the key features of perinatal stem cells derived from fetus-associated tissues.These cells show multiple differentiation potential, can be easily expanded ex vivo, and raise no ethical concerns asregards their use. Several reports indicate that cells isolated from Wharton's jelly (WJ), the main component of umbilicalcord extracellular matrix, are multipotent stem cells that express markers shared by other mesenchymal stem cells (MSC)and give rise to different mature cell types belonging to all three germ layers. Moreover, WJ-MSC display promisinghypoimmunogenic and immunomodulatory properties, since they express molecules able to modulate NK cells andexpand regulatory T-cell populations.In this review, we focus on the use of perinatal stem cells for regenerative medicine aimed at cartilage repair andregeneration. Cartilage is a specialized connective tissue which has poor regeneration and self-repair capacity in vivo.Traumatic injury or autoimmune processes are among the main causes of cartilage damage and degeneration, for whichnew hope comes from tissue engineering using stem cells which have undergone chondrocyte-like differentiation. Weanalyze the in vitro and in vivo data on the use of perinatal stem cells, in particular WJ-MSC, for cartilage regenerativemedicine. The high variability of cell sources, the use of different types of scaffolds and matrixes, and the administrationof several combinations of growth factors clearly point out the need for further research to optimize this cellular therapyapproach and translate the results obtained from bench to clinic.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages0
Publication statusPublished - 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology

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