Cord Tissue is the commercial name for a source of stem cells derived from the umbilical cord. Wharton’s Jelly is the scientific term used for the primitive connective tissue of the umbilical cord. First named by Thomas Wharton in 1656, this gelatinous substance’s function is to provide support for the vein and arteries of the umbilical cord.
During early development of the embryo, perhaps as early as day 3.5 – 7.5E, primitive multipotent stem cells also known as Wharton’s Jelly stem cells (WJSCs) migrate from the aortic-gonadotropin-mesonephric region in the hind gut of the developing embryo, forming the fetal liver through the allantois/umbilical cord. These primitive mesenchymal-like cells therefore are trapped at very early embryological age and retain the properties of primitive stem cells.
WJSCs are characterized as fetal mesenchymal stem cells and can be induced to form adipose tissue, bone, cartilage, skeletal muscle cells, cardiomyocyte-like cells and neural cells. These cells are very amenable for tissue engineering, gene therapy and regenerative medicine