Characterization and Genetic Manipulation of Human Umbilical Cord Vein Mesenchymal Stem Cells: Potential Application in Cell-Based Gene Therapy

Kermani A.J *, Mowla S.J , Fathi F ,


Objective: Stem cells are defined by two main characteristics: self-renewal capacity and commitment to multi-lineage differentiation. The cells have a great therapeutic potential in repopulating damaged tissues as well as being genetically manipulated and used in cell-based gene therapy. Umbilical cord vein is a readily available and inexpensive source of stem cells that are capable of generating various cell types. Despite the recent isolation of human umbilical cord vein mesenchymal stem cells (UVMSC), the self-renewal capacity and the potential clinical application of the cells are not well known. Materials and Methods: In the present study, we have successfully isolated and cultured human UVMSCs. Results: Our data further revealed that the isolated cells express the self-renewal genes Oct-4, Nanog, ZFX, Bmi-1, and Nucleostemin; but not Zic-3, Hoxb-4, TCL- 1, Tbx-3 and Esrrb. In addition, our immunocytochemistry results revealed the expression of SSEA-4, but not SSEA-3, TRA-1–60, and TRA-1–81 embryonic stem cell surface markers in the cells. Also, we were able to transfect the cells with a reporter, enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP), and a therapeutic human brain-derived neurotrophic factor (hBDNF) gene by means of electroporation and obtained a stable cell line, which could constantly express both transgene Conclusion: The latter data provide further evidence on the usefulness of umbilical cord vein mesenchymal stem cells as a readily available source of stem cells, which could be genetically manipulated and used in cell-based gene therapy applications.