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Stem Cells International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 583984, 14 pages
Research Article

What Makes Umbilical Cord Tissue-Derived Mesenchymal Stromal Cells Superior Immunomodulators When Compared to Bone Marrow Derived Mesenchymal Stromal Cells?

1ECBio S.A. - R&D in Biotechnology, Rua Henrique Paiva Couceiro, 27, 2700-451 Amadora, Portugal
2Instituto de Medicina Molecular, Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de Lisboa, Avenida Professor Egas Moniz, 1649-028 Lisboa, Portugal
3Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Department of Gene Regulation and Differentiation, Inhoffenstaße 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany
4Research Institute for Medicines (iMed.ULisboa), Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lisbon, Avenida Professor Gama Pinto, 1649-003 Lisbon, Portugal

Received 2 February 2015; Revised 8 April 2015; Accepted 26 April 2015

Academic Editor: Shimon Slavin

Copyright © 2015 R. N. Bárcia et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


MSCs derived from the umbilical cord tissue, termed UCX, were investigated for their immunomodulatory properties and compared to bone marrow-derived MSCs (BM-MSCs), the gold-standard in immunotherapy. Immunogenicity and immunosuppression were assessed by mixed lymphocyte reactions, suppression of lymphocyte proliferation and induction of regulatory T cells. Results showed that UCX were less immunogenic and showed higher immunosuppression activity than BM-MSCs. Further, UCX did not need prior activation or priming to exert their immunomodulatory effects. This was further corroborated in vivo in a model of acute inflammation. To elucidate the potency differences observed between UCX and BM-MSCs, gene expression related to immune modulation was analysed in both cell types. Several gene expression profile differences were found between UCX and BM-MSCs, namely decreased expression of HLA-DRA, HO-1, IGFBP1, 4 and 6, ILR1, IL6R and PTGES and increased expression of CD200, CD273, CD274, IL1B, IL-8, LIF and TGFB2. The latter were confirmed at the protein expression level. Overall, these results show that UCX seem to be naturally more potent immunosuppressors and less immunogenic than BM-MSCs. We propose that these differences may be due to increased levels of immunomodulatory surface proteins such as CD200, CD273, CD274 and cytokines such as IL1β, IL-8, LIF and TGFβ2.