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What is Wharton’s Jelly?

What is Wharton’s Jelly?

Regenerative medicine can be defined as the practice of using technologies and techniques to stimulate the replacement or regeneration of cells to combat degenerated or injured tissues. Hudson Medical focuses on staying current with new developments in regenerative medicine which ensures that we provide you with cutting-edge treatment options that target your specific needs. Regenerative medicine interventions offer patients novel approaches to treating many forms of tissue injury by using minimally-invasive techniques that stimulate the repair of damaged tissue. Such interventions include Stem Cell Therapy and Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy, both of which help avoid the need for surgery by using the patient’s own cells to stimulate regeneration. Of late, we are most excited about the promising therapeutic application for musculoskeletal injuries and conditions, such as osteoarthritis, intervertebral disc degeneration and tendinopathy, called Wharton’s jelly. Depending on your needs, we can inject Wharton’s jelly directly at injury sites to stimulate the regeneration and repair of damaged intervertebral discs, joints, and tendons. 

Wharton’s jelly is derived from umbilical cord tissue and contains many components with remarkable regenerative properties. Studies have shown that Wharton’s jelly contains very high concentrations of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), which are cells that have the ability to transform into specialized cell types. When injected into damaged tissues, MSCs may help regenerate damaged tissues and stimulate the strengthening of degenerative cells. 

In addition to the high concentration of MSCs, Wharton’s jelly contains significant amounts of growth factors, cytokines, hyaluronic acid and exosomes. The growth factors that are found in Wharton’s jelly are known to encourage the growth and survival of bone cells, cartilage cells, tendon cells, blood vessel cells, and muscle cells. The cytokines found in Wharton’s Jelly play key roles in inhibiting inflammation, preventing hyperalgesia (an increased sensitivity to feeling pain and an extreme response to pain), and can even promote wound healing. The hyaluronic acid content in Wharton’s jelly offers yet another mechanism to combat musculoskeletal degenerative diseases. Recent research has shown the potential of exosomes (a product that is secreted from stem cells) in regenerative medicine through their ability to modulate gene expression and suppress harmful inflammatory pathways. 

At Hudson Medical, we are excited to offer Wharton’s jelly injections as it is a cutting-edge application of regenerative medicine. Several ongoing clinical studies have demonstrated how the contents of Wharton’s jelly can be used to rebuild damaged tissues and foster cellular regeneration. The results of these studies have demonstrated improved safety and efficacy of injecting Wharton’s jelly for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis when compared to traditional interventions. Further, the results from multiple studies have provided convincing evidence that the constituents of Wharton’s jelly have the ability to promote the differentiation of degenerative intervertebral disc cells towards an improved disc cell type. By harnessing the regenerative ability of each component of Wharton’s jelly, this treatment provides synergistic healing properties to combat many musculoskeletal diseases such as osteoarthritis, intervertebral disc degeneration, and tendinopathy.

If you are interested in learning more about Wharton’s jelly or if you want to know if you’re a good candidate for this type of injection, schedule a consultation with one of our medical providers today.

Resources:

  1. Mironov, V et al. “What is regenerative medicine? Emergence of applied stem cell and developmental biology.” Expert opinion on biological therapy vol. 4,6 (2004): 773-81. doi:10.1517/14712598.4.6.773
  2. Roufosse, C A et al. “Circulating mesenchymal stem cells.” The international journal of biochemistry & cell biology vol. 36,4 (2004): 585-97. doi:10.1016/j.biocel.2003.10.007
  3. Zhao, Y-T et al. “Wharton’s Jelly-derived mesenchymal stem cells suppress apoptosis of nucleus pulposus cells in intervertebral disc degeneration via Wnt pathway.” European review for medical and pharmacological sciences vol. 24,19 (2020): 9807-9814. doi:10.26355/eurrev_202010_23190
  4. Gupta, Ashim et al. “Umbilical cord-derived Wharton’s jelly for regenerative medicine applications.” Journal of orthopaedic surgery and research vol. 15,1 49. 13 Feb. 2020, doi:10.1186/s13018-020-1553-7
  5. Main, Benjamin J et al. “Umbilical cord-derived Wharton’s jelly for regenerative medicine applications in orthopedic surgery: a systematic review protocol.” Journal of orthopaedic surgery and research vol. 15,1 527. 11 Nov. 2020, doi:10.1186/s13018-020-02067-w
  6. Gupta, Ashim et al. “Safety and efficacy of umbilical cord-derived Wharton’s jelly compared to hyaluronic acid and saline for knee osteoarthritis: study protocol for a randomized, controlled, single-blind, multi-center trial.” Journal of orthopaedic surgery and research vol. 16,1 352. 31 May. 2021, doi:10.1186/s13018-021-02475-6
  7. Lee, Sang Yoon et al. “Treatment of Lateral Epicondylosis by Using Allogeneic Adipose-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells: A Pilot Study.” Stem cells (Dayton, Ohio) vol. 33,10 (2015): 2995-3005. doi:10.1002/stem.2110
  8. Penolazzi, Letizia et al. “Extracellular Matrix From Decellularized Wharton’s Jelly Improves the Behavior of Cells From Degenerated Intervertebral Disc.” Frontiers in bioengineering and biotechnology vol. 8 262. 27 Mar. 2020, doi:10.3389/fbioe.2020.00262

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