Phenotypic and functional immaturity of human umbilical cord blood T lymphocytes

David T. Harris, Michael J. Schumacher, Jeffrey Locascio, Françoise J. Besencon, George B. Olson, Dominick Deluca, Lewis Shenker, Judith Bard, Edward A. Boyse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

319 Scopus citations


Successful implementation of bone marrow transplantation for hematopoietic reconstitution is limited by the lack of suitably HLA-matched donors and by the occurrence of graft-versus-host disease that frequently accompanies this procedure. Recent clinical reports have implied that the use of umbilical cord blood as a source of transplantable stem cells may solve these problems. To date, definitive experiments have not been performed to assess the immunological potential of T cells found in umbilical cord blood, which could mediate graft-versus-host disease. In the present study we have observed that umbilical cord blood contains T lymphocytes that appear to be phenotypically immature. In addition, umbilical cord blood lymphocytes appeared to be functionally immature as shown by minimal responses to stimulation with interleukin 2, phytohemagglutinin, or alloantigens. Thus, umbilical cord blood may be more suitable for allogeneic transplantation than bone marrow in that these cord blood cells may not be as capable of mediating graft-versus-host disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10006-10010
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number21
StatePublished - 1992


  • T-cell differentiation
  • Tolerance
  • Transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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