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What is Cord Lining

The umbilical cord contains cord blood, Wharton’s jelly, two umbilical arteries and an umbilical vein. These components are protected by a sheet-like membrane known as the cord lining. While Wharton’s jelly contains one type of stem cells – Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSC), the umbilical cord lining contains at least two types of stem cells – Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSC) and Epithelial Stem Cells (EpSC).

a section of umbilical cord

Stem cells found in Cord Lining

Mesenchymal (MSCs) Stem Cells have shown immense potential in aiding the repair of injured tissues and organs and the treatment of various diseases. EpSCs form the soft tissues that connect, support, or surround other structures and organs of the body including cornea, skin, and liver. MSCs are the building blocks of structural tissues of our body such as bone, cartilage, muscle, fibrous tissues and fat.

Epithelial Stem Cells
Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Epithelial Stem Cells (EpSCs) are important because they can differentiate into:

  • Skin Cells
  • Cornea Cells
  • Liver Cells
  • Insulin producing Cells
  • Mucin producing Cells
  • Inner Ear Cells

Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) are important because they can differentiate into:

  • Fat Cells
  • Cartilage Cells
  • Heart Cells
  • Bone producing Cells
  • Nerve producing Cells

Different Sources of MSC & EpSC

Although MSCs and EpSCs can be obtained from other sources in our body, there are many benefits of using these cells obtained from cord lining. The table below summarizes some of the many benefits of cord lining cells compared to other sources1,2:

Biological Sources Bone Marrow Fat Placenta Umbilical Cord Wharton’s Jelly Cord Lining
Invasiveness in the procedure of collection
Ease of the processing and isolation of targeted stem cell
High yield of targeted cells
(about 20 million cells per cm2 cord lining)
Presence of MSC population
Presence of EpSC population
Age of stem cells Adult Adult Mixed
(comprise cells from mother and child)
Infant Infant
Presence of HLA-E/HLA-G*

*Immunosuppressant properties – With this unique properties, the cells play an important role in modulating the patient’s immune system when used (i.e. promote engraftment of HSC and lower the rejection rate).

  1. Ivor J. Lim and T.T. Phan, Cell Transplantation, Vol. 23, pp. 497-503, 2014
  2. Mandy Stubbendorff, Tobias Deuse, stem cells and development, Vol. 22, Number 19, 20135