Improving the neuronal differentiation efficiency of umbilical cord blood-derived mesenchymal stem cells cultivated under appropriate conditions

Document Type: Original Article


1 Department of Immunology, Blood Transfusion Research Center, High Institute for Research and Education in Transfusion Medicine, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences, School of Paramedicine, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, Iran

3 Department of Stem Cell Biology, Stem Cell Technology Research Center, Tehran, Iran


Objective(s): Umbilical cord blood-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (UCB-MSCs) are ideally suited for use in various cell-based therapies. We investigated a novel induction protocol (NIP) to improve the neuronal differentiation of human UCB-MSCs under appropriate conditions.
Materials and Methods: This experimental study was performed in Iranian Blood Transfusion Organization (IBTO), Tehran, Iran. UCB-MSCs were cultured in DMEM medium supplemented with 10% FBS in a humidified incubator in equilibration with 5% CO2 at 37oC. For neuronal differentiation of UCB-MSCs, DMEM was removed and replaced with pre-induction medium containing RA, bFGF, EGF, and basal medium for two days. Then, NGF, IBMX, AsA, and Neurobasal medium were used for six days for this purpose. Real-time PCR was performed to analyze the neuronal differentiation of UCB-MSCs for the first time in Iran.
Results: We found that the maximum and minimum levels of gene expression were related to GFAP and nestin, respectively. In addition, our study showed that compared to other neuronal inducers, RA might play the main role in neuronal differentiation and fate of MSCs compared to other neuronal inducers.
Conclusion: Our data showed that the combination of chemical (RA, IBMX, AsA) and growth factors (NGF, EGF, bFGF) in NIP may improve the efficiency of neuronal differentiation of UCB-MSCs and may provide a new method for easy and quick application of UCB-MSCs in regenerative medicine in the future. However, the functionality of neuron-like cells must be carefully assessed in animal experiments prior to use in clinical applications.


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