Aguilera V1, Briceño L1, Contreras H2, Lamperti L1, Sepúlveda E1, Díaz-Perez F1, León M1, Veas C1, Maura R3, Toledo JR3, Fernández P4, Covarrubias A5, Zuñiga FA1, Radojkovic C1, Escudero C6, Aguayo C7.
Mesenchymal stem cells have a high capacity for trans-differentiation toward many adult cell types, including endothelial cells. Feto-placental tissue, such as Wharton’s jelly is a potential source of mesenchymal stem cells with low immunogenic capacity; make them an excellent source of progenitor cells with a potential use for tissue repair. We evaluated whether administration of endothelial cells derived from mesenchymal stem cells isolated from Wharton’s jelly (hWMSCs) can accelerate tissue repair in vivo.
Mesenchymal stem cells were isolated from human Wharton’s jelly by digestion with collagenase type I. Endothelial trans-differentiation was induced for 14 (hWMSC-End14d) and 30 (hWMSC-End30d) days. Cell phenotyping was performed using mesenchymal (CD90, CD73, CD105) and endothelial (Tie-2, KDR, eNOS, ICAM-1) markers. Endothelial trans-differentiation was demonstrated by the expression of endothelial markers and their ability to synthesize nitric oxide (NO).
hWMSCs can be differentiated into adipocytes, osteocytes, chondrocytes and endothelial cells. Moreover, these cells show high expression of CD73, CD90 and CD105 but low expression of endothelial markers prior to differentiation. hWMSCs-End express high levels of endothelial markers at 14 and 30 days of culture, and also they can synthesize NO. Injection of hWMSC-End30d in a mouse model of skin injury significantly accelerated wound healing compared with animals injected with undifferentiated hWMSC or injected with vehicle alone. These effects were also observed in animals that received conditioned media from hWMSC-End30d cultures.
These results demonstrate that mesenchymal stem cells isolated from Wharton’s jelly can be cultured in vitro and trans-differentiated into endothelial cells. Differentiated hWMSC-End may promote neovascularization and tissue repair in vivo through the secretion of soluble pro-angiogenic factors.