Wharton’s Jelly Mesenchymal Stromal Cells from Human Umbilical Cord: a Close-up on Immunomodulatory Molecules Featured In Situ and In Vitro

Tiziana Corsello, Giandomenico Amico, Simona Corrao, Rita Anzalone, Francesca Timoneri, Melania Lo Iacono, Eleonora Russo, Giovanni Francesco Spatola, Maria Laura Uzzo, Mario Giuffrè, Martin Caprnda, Peter Kubatka, Peter Kruzliak, Pier Giulio Conaldi, Giampiero La Rocca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Therapeutic options for end-stage organ failure are often limited to whole organ transplantation. The tolerance or rejection of the transplanted organ is driven by both early non-specific innate and specific adaptive responses. The use of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) is considered a promising tool in regenerative medicine. Human umbilical cord (HUC) is an easily available source of MSCs, without relevant ethical issues. Moreover, Wharton’s jelly-derived MSCs (WJ-MSCs), showed consistent immunomodulatory features that may be useful to promote immune tolerance in the host after transplantation. Few data are available on the phenotype of WJ-MSCs in situ. We investigated the expression of immune-related molecules, such as HLAs, IDO, CD276/B7-H3, and others, both in situ (HUC) and in in vitro-cultured WJ-MSCs. Morphological and biochemical techniques were used to define the expression of such molecules. In addition, we focused on the possible role of CD276/B7-H3 on T cells proliferation inhibition. We assessed CD276/B7-H3 expression by WJ-MSCs both in situ and alongside cell culture. WJ-MSCs were able to suppress T cell proliferation in mixed lymphocyte reaction (MLR). Moreover, we describe for the first time a specific role for CD276/B7-H3, since the immunomodulatory ability of WJ-MSCs was abolished upon anti-CD276/B7-H3 antibody addition to the MLR. These results further detail the immune regulation properties and tolerance induction exerted by human WJ-MSCs, in particular pointing to CD276/B7-H3 as one of the main involved factors. These data further suggest WJ-MSCs as potent tools to modulate local immune response in “support-type” regenerative medicine approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)900-918
Number of pages19
JournalStem Cell Reviews and Reports
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • B7-H3
  • CD276
  • Cell therapy
  • Human umbilical cord
  • Immunomodulation
  • Lymphocyte inhibition
  • Regenerative medicine
  • Stem cells
  • Wharton’s jelly mesenchymal stromal cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research


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