Once cartilage is damaged, it has limited potential for self-repair. Autologous chondrocyte implantation is an effective treatment, but patients may suffer during cartilage harvesting and the donor-site morbidity may accelerate joint degeneration. Using autologous mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) derived chondrocytes is another selection, while it also causes some injuring. The umbilical cord, an ecto-embryo tissue may be an ideal source of cells, because of its accessibility, abundant resources, painless procedures for harvesting, and lack of ethical issues. MSCs isolated from Wharton’s jelly of human umbilical cord express characteristics of pre-chondrocytes, low immunogenicity and are easy to be obtained with higher purity because there have no hematopoietic cells in Wharton’s jelly, so it may be a new seed cells more suitable for constructing tissue-engineered cartilage.
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