Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are a heterogeneous cell population that is isolated initially from the bone marrow (BM) and subsequently almost all tissues including umbilical cord (UC). UC-derived MSCs (UC-MSCs) have attracted an increasing attention as a source for cell therapy against various degenerative diseases due to their vigorous proliferation and differentiation. Although the cell proliferation and differentiation of BM-derived MSCs is known to decline with age, the functional difference between preterm and term UC-MSCs is poorly characterized. In the present study, we isolated UC-MSCs from 23 infants delivered at 22-40 weeks of gestation and analyzed their gene expression and cell proliferation. Microarray analysis revealed that global gene expression in preterm UC-MSCs was distinct from term UC-MSCs. WNT signaling impacts on a variety of tissue stem cell proliferation and differentiation, and its pathway genes were enriched in differentially expressed genes between preterm and term UC-MSCs. Cell proliferation of preterm UC-MSCs was significantly enhanced compared to term UC-MSCs and counteracted by WNT signaling inhibitor XAV939. Furthermore, WNT2B expression in UC-MSCs showed a significant negative correlation with gestational age (GA). These results suggest that WNT signaling is involved in the regulation of GA-dependent UC-MSC proliferation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology