A study comparing whether endothelial colony-forming cells (ECFCs) derived from human placenta or those derived from human umbilical cord blood are more proliferative and better for forming new blood vessels has found that ECFCs derived from human placenta are more vasculogenic.
The study, carried out by researchers at the Indiana School of Medicine, is published in a recent issue of Cell Medicine [2(3)] and is freely available on-line at: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/cog/cm.
"Circulating ECFCs isolated from umbilical cord blood and those isolated from human placenta are phenotypically identical and have equivalent proliferative potential," said study lead author Michael P. Murphy, MD of the Indiana University's Department of Surgery. "After transplantation, the circulating placenta-derived ECFCs formed significantly more blood vessels in vivo than the ECFCs derived from umbilical cord blood, indicating not only that there are inherent functional differences between resident and circulating ECFC populations, but that the placenta-derived cells are more vasculogenic."
Umbilical cord blood and the extra-embryonic membranes of placenta are ideal sources of progenitor cells, said the researchers, because the tissues are discarded as medical waste and ethical concerns facing embryonic stem cells are avoided. The quantity of cells that can be derived from placenta, however, is much greater than the amount that can be derived from umbilical cord blood, making the placenta the more abundant source.