Stem cells are proving to be a promising therapy for a wide range of pediatric disorders, from neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy to pediatric leukemia. Owing to their low immunogenicity and ease of availability, umbilical cord blood (UCB) progenitor cells are increasingly replacing fetal- and adult-derived cells in therapeutic settings. Multiple environmental and demographic factors affect the number and type of stem cells extracted from UCB, and these differences have been associated with disparities in outcomes after transplantation. To avoid variations in efficacy, as well as the potential adverse effects of stem cell transplantation, evaluation of the stem cell secretome is critical to identify key paracrine signals released by the stem cells that could be used to provide similar neuroprotective effects to stem cell transplantation. This article describes the cell types found in UCB and reviews the available literature surrounding the effects of collection timing and volume, maternal risk factors, delivery characteristics, and neonatal demographics on the cellular composition of UCB. In addition, the current findings regarding the stem cell secretome are discussed to identify factors that could be used to supplement or replace stem cell transplantation in pediatric neuroprotection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health