Wharton’s jelly mesenchymal stromal cells (WJ-MSCs) have been recently exploited as a feeder layer in coculture systems to expand umbilical cord blood–hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (UCB-HSPCs). Here, we investigated the role of WJ-MSCs in supporting ex vivo UCB-HSPC expansion either when cultured in direct contact (DC) with WJ-MSCs or separated by a transwell system or in the presence of WJ-MSC–conditioned medium. We found, in short-term culture, a greater degree of expansion of UCB-CD34 + cells in a DC system (15.7 ± 4.1-fold increase) with respect to the other conditions. Moreover, in DC, we evidenced two different CD34 + cell populations (one floating and one adherent to WJ-MSCs) with different phenotypic and functional characteristics. Both multipotent CD34 + /CD38 − and lineage-committed CD34 + /CD38 + hematopoietic progenitors were expanded in a DC system. The former were significantly more represented in the adherent cell fraction than in the floating one (18.7 ± 11.2% vs. 9.7 ± 7.9% over the total CD34 + cells). Short-term colony forming unit (CFU) assays showed that HSPCs adherent to the stromal layer were able to generate a higher frequency of immature colonies (CFU-granulocyte/macrophage and burst-forming unit erythroid/large colonies) with respect to the floating cells. In the attempt to identify molecules that may play a role in supporting the observed ex vivo HSPC growth, we performed secretome analyses. We found a number of proteins involved in the HSPC homing, self-renewal, and differentiation in all tested conditions. It is important to note that a set of sixteen proteins, which are only in part reported to be expressed in any hematopoietic niche, were exclusively found in the DC system secretome. In conclusion, WJ-MSCs allowed a significant ex vivo expansion of multipotent as well as committed HSPCs. This may be relevant for future clinical applications.
|Number of pages||13|
|Publication status||Published - 2018|
- Biomedical Engineering
- Cell Biology