Wharton’s Jelly (WJ), one of the routinely discarded products of afterbirths, is a tissue rich in mesenchymal stem cells (MSC). Additionally, its extracellular matrix is rich in collagen, which makes it attractive as scaffolding for tissue engineering. For those of us working with WJ in the lab, a delicate balance must be struck between how to best preserve the tissue and ensuring that WJ is retaining its regenerative properties. In this article, the researchers used a process called vitrification to preserve WJ for up to a year and compared it to both fresh WJ tissue and conventionally cryopreserved WJ. They found that vitrified WJ retained properties comparable to fresh WJ: the extracellular matrix was still viable, and it was possible to isolate and expand MSC.
Vitrified Wharton’s jelly tissue as a biomaterial for multiple tissue engineering applications.
Wharton’s Jelly (WJ) tissue is a promising biomaterial, for tissue engineering applications. However, its preservation over a long period in order to be readily available needs further optimization. A possible solution could be the vitrification and storage of WJ tissue at low temperatures. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of low temperature in the WJ tissue, which was stored at -196 °C, either with the vitrification or conventional cryopreservation methods. WJ tissues were isolated from human umbilical cords, cryopreserved with the above methods and remained for 1 year at -196 °C. Histological analysis of tissue’s extracellular matrix (ECM), isolation, and characterization of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) were performed. Histological analysis revealed the presence of ECM components such as collagen, sulfated glycosaminoglycans (sGAGs), and the presence of cell nuclei only in vitrified samples. Furthermore, MSCs were isolated and expanded successfully from vitrified WJ tissues, whereas a few viable cells were obtained from conventionally cryopreserved tissues that were not further expanded. In conclusion, this study indicated the proper preservation of vitrified WJ tissues after 1 year of storage, which eventually could be used in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine approaches.
PMID: 31237154 DOI: 10.1080/09513590.2019.1632831