Enzymatic isolation method for human umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stromal cells

Scope of the method

The Method relates to
  • Human health
The Method is situated in
  • Basic Research
Type of method
  • In vitro - Ex vivo
This method makes use of
  • Human derived cells / tissues / organs
Specify the type of cells/tissues/organs
umbilical cord


Method keywords
  • umbilical cord
  • mesenchymal stem cell
  • human adult stem cells
  • standardized isolation method
  • enzymatic isolation
Scientific area keywords
  • liver embryogenesis
  • hepatic differentiation
  • Drug-induced liver injury (DILI)
  • human adult stem cells
  • hepatic in vitro model
  • hepatocyte-like cells
  • drug development
Method description

This method provides a new and easy to standardize enzymatic isolation protocol to obtain human umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (hUC-MSCs). hUC-MSCs are obtained within 3 hours and the isolation method provides a minimal risk of bacterial contamination. The so-obtained hUC-MSCs were characterized as MSCs according to the guidelines of the International Society of Cellular Therapy. Furthermore, these hUC-MSCs express a set of hepatic transcription factors (GATA4, GATA6, SOX9 and SOX17) and other hepatic markers (DKK1, DPP4, DSG2, CX43, KRT18 and KRT19), rendering them an interesting stem cell population for the development of human hepatocyte-like cells.

Lab equipment
  • Incubator (37 ± 1°C, 90 ± 5% humidity, 5.0 ± 1% CO2/air);
  • Laminar air flow;
  • Water bath (37 ± 1°C);
  • Pipettes;
  • Pipettors;
  • Flow cytometer;
  • PCR Thermal Cycler;
  • Phase-contrast/fluorescence microscope.
Method status
  • Published in peer reviewed journal

Pros, cons & Future potential

  • Fast, robust, standardized method;
  • Minimal risk for bacterial contamination.
Future & Other applications

Generation of human hepatocyte-like cells from hUC-MSCs for the development of a human-based in vitro liver model.

References, associated documents and other information


Evaluation of a new standardized enzymatic isolation protocol for human umbilical cord-derived stem cells. Buyl K., Vanhaecke T., Desmae T., Lagneaux L., Rogiers V., Najar M.*, De Kock J.* (2015) Toxicology In Vitro, 29(6):1254-62. (*equal contribution)

Contact person

Karolien Buyl


Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)
Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences
In Vitro Toxicology and Dermato-Cosmetology
Brussels Region