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Stem Cells International
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 1732094, 16 pages
Research Article

Allogeneic Umbilical Cord-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells as a Potential Source for Cartilage and Bone Regeneration: An In Vitro Study

1Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, University of Turin, Torino, Italy
2University of Turin Molecular Biotechnology Center, Torino, Italy
3Department of Biomedicine, University Hospital of Basel, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
4IRCCS Istituto Ortopedico Galeazzi, Milano, Italy
5Department of Biomedical Sciences for Health, University of Milan, Milano, Italy

Correspondence should be addressed to A. Marmotti

Received 24 July 2017; Revised 2 October 2017; Accepted 11 October 2017; Published 16 November 2017

Academic Editor: Michael Uhlin

Copyright © 2017 A. Marmotti 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.


Umbilical cord (UC) may represent an attractive cell source for allogeneic mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) therapy. The aim of this in vitro study is to investigate the chondrogenic and osteogenic potential of UC-MSCs grown onto tridimensional scaffolds, to identify a possible clinical relevance for an allogeneic use in cartilage and bone reconstructive surgery. Chondrogenic differentiation on scaffolds was confirmed at 4 weeks by the expression of sox-9 and type II collagen; low oxygen tension improved the expression of these chondrogenic markers. A similar trend was observed in pellet culture in terms of matrix (proteoglycan) production. Osteogenic differentiation on bone-graft-substitute was also confirmed after 30 days of culture by the expression of osteocalcin and RunX-2. Cells grown in the hypertrophic medium showed at 5 weeks safranin o-positive stain and an increased CbFa1 expression, confirming the ability of these cells to undergo hypertrophy. These results suggest that the UC-MSCs isolated from minced umbilical cords may represent a valuable allogeneic cell population, which might have a potential for orthopaedic tissue engineering such as the on-demand cell delivery using chondrogenic, osteogenic, and endochondral scaffold. This study may have a clinical relevance as a future hypothetical option for allogeneic single-stage cartilage repair and bone regeneration.