Sports Injury (Cartilage)

The regenerative nature of mesenchymal stem cells makes these cells an interesting candidate for researchers in areas other than disease. One area that’s been brought to light in recent years is sports injuries and musculoskeletal tissue engineering to correct cartilage damage.

Bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hB-MSCs) have long been considered the standard for stem cell sources in musculoskeletal tissue engineering. For the first time, however, researchers are specifically comparing bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hB-MSCs) to human umbilical cord derived mesenchymal stem cells (hUC-MSCs) to determine if a human umbilical cord could be an alternative source of MSCs in tissue engineering. Compared with hB-MSCs, hUC-MSCs provide the clear advantages of being easily obtained from a discarded tissue (non-invasive), available in abundant supply, and being highly expandable.

Study Details

In this study, MSC cells from bone marrow and cord tissue were cultured in identical conditions. Comparative tests for certain measures were run at 0, 3, and 6 weeks.26 The hUC-MSCs were better able to produce collagen — nearly 3x as much collagen production as hBMSCs — and had faster proliferation which provides a larger number of cells in a shorter period of time.


Based on the results researchers concluded that hUC-MSCs may be a desirable option for use as a MSC cell source for a particular type of tissue engineering called fibrocartilage tissue engineering — used in such areas as the knee (meniscus) or the jaw joint (temporomandibular joint, TMJ). They also noted that with further investigation hUC-MSCs may have the potential to surpass the standard source hB-MCS in other types of cartilage regeneration.