, Volume 71, Issue 1, pp 427–441 | Cite as

Aldehyde dehydrogenase activity of Wharton jelly mesenchymal stromal cells: isolation and characterization

  • Mehdi Najar
  • Emerence CrompotEmail author
  • Leo A. van Grunsven
  • Laurent Dollé
  • Laurence Lagneaux
Methods paper


Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) are promising tools in regenerative medicine and targeted therapies. Although different origins have been described, there is still huge need to find a valuable source harboring specific subpopulations of MSCs with precise therapeutic functions. Here, we isolated by fluorescence activated cell sorting technique, two populations of Wharton’s jelly (WJ)-MSCs based on their aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) activity. Two different ALDH activities (low vs. high) were thus observed. We then analyzed their gene expression profile for stemness, phenotype, response to hypoxia, angiogenesis, hematopoietic support, immunomodulation and multilineage differentiation abilities (osteogenesis, adipogenesis, and chondrogenesis). According to ALDH activity, many differences in the mRNA expression of these populations were noticed. In conclusion, we provide evidences that WJ harbors two distinct populations of MSCs with different ALDH activity. These populations seem to display specific functional competences that may be interesting for concise therapeutic applications.


Wharton jelly mesenchymal stromal cells Aldehyde dehydrogenase activity Fluorescence activated cell sorting Transcriptome analysis 



We thank “Télévie” (FNRS) for the financial support.

Authors’ contributions

Conceived and designed the experiments: MN, LL. Performed the experiments: MN, LL. Analyzed the data: EC, MN, LD. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: LD, LVG. Wrote the paper: EC, MN, LL.


Mehdi Najar is awardee of a “Télévie” post-doctoral fellowship and Emerence Crompot is awardee of Ph.D. Grant “Télévie” (F.N.R.S).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical standard

This study was approved by the Bordet Institute Ethics Committee (Belgium) and conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki (1964). All donors and/or their parents gave written informed consent.

Availability of data and materials

All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in this published article (and its supplementary information files).


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Clinical Cell Therapy, Jules Bordet InstituteUniversité Libre de Bruxelles (ULB)BrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Liver Cell Biology LaboratoryVrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium

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