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Perinatal sources of mesenchymal stem cells: Wharton’s jelly, amnion and chorion


Recently, stem cell biology has become an interesting topic, especially in the context of treating diseases and injuries using transplantation therapy. Several varieties of human stem cells have been isolated and identified in vivo and in vitro. Ideally, stem cells for regenerative medical application should be found in abundant quantities, harvestable in a minimally invasive procedure, then safely and effectively transplanted to either an autologous or allogenic host. The two main groups of stem cells, embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells, have been expanded to include perinatal stem cells. Mesenchymal stem cells from perinatal tissue may be particularly useful in the clinic for autologous transplantation for fetuses and newborns, and after banking in later stages of life, as well as for in utero transplantation in case of genetic disorders.

This review highlights the characteristics and therapeutic potential of three human mesenchymal stem cell types obtained from perinatal sources: Wharton’s jelly, the amnion, and the chorion.



amniotic fluid-derived mesenchymal stromal cells


amniotic membrane mesenchymal stromal cells


bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells


chorionic mesenchymal stem/stromal cells


epidermal growth factor


embryonic stem cells


fibroblast growth factor


human leukocyte antigen


hematopoietic stem cells


insulin growth factor




major histocompatibility complex


mesenchymal stem cells


placenta mesenchymal stem/stromal cells


transforming growth factor-β


umbilical cord mesenchymal stromal/stem cells


vascular endothelial growth factor


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Correspondence to Malgorzata Witkowska-Zimny.

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Witkowska-Zimny, M., Wrobel, E. Perinatal sources of mesenchymal stem cells: Wharton’s jelly, amnion and chorion. Cell Mol Biol Lett 16, 493–514 (2011).

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Key words

  • Perinatal stem cells
  • Wharton’s jelly
  • Amnion
  • Chorion
  • Placenta
  • Mesenchymal stem/stromal cells
  • Regenerative medicine