ASGCT 2020: Donor sex has no effect on quality of umbilical cord tissue-derived MSCs

Written by Freya Leask

Research presented at the American Society for Gene and Cell Therapy (ASGCT) Virtual Annual Meeting (12-15 May) has indicated the sex of the donor has no effect on the characteristics of MSCs collected from umbilical cord tissue.

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have long shown therapeutic potential to treat a range of indications. Umbilical cord tissue (UCT) is a non-invasive source of collecting them, though previous research has shown that certain donor characteristics, such as age or morbidity, may affect donor function. However, in research presented at ASGCT Virtual, researchers from Generate Life Sciences (AZ, USA) suggest that donor sex has no effect on MSCs collected from UCT. 

Cell banks are increasingly offering to cryopreserve UCT alongside cord blood in the hope they could provide sources of therapeutic cells in the future. To more fully understand potential donor variability and ensure the highest potential for future benefit, the influence of donor sex was investigated in MSCs collect from 10 full term neonates — 5 boys and 5 girls. 

Following cryopreservation, isolation and expansions, the characteristics of the MSCs were compared. Initially, there was a small difference in cell viability at the second passage but this was no longer apparent by passage three. Both female and male donors expressed markers CD73, CD90, and CD34/45 at similar levels (p=0.3, p=0.7, p=0.4) and doubling time was also comparable with no significant differences (p=0.4). 

The researchers are currently investigating cytokine profiling and functional attributes relevant for regenerative medicine with a large data set. Despite the small data set, this finding bodes well for the many people who have already cryopreserved cord blood or UCT.  

Source: Skiles ML, Marzan A, Brown KS, Shamonki JM. The Impact of Donor Sex on Umbilical Cord Tissue Mesenchymal Stromal Cells. ASGCT Annual Meeting (12—15 May 2020). Abstract 415.