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November 1, 2022


November 2, 2022

What are CD34 Cells in Cord Blood?

CD34 is a molecule that is a marker of hematopoietic cells. The CD34 marker is used to select stem cells for transplantation.

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About CD34 stem/progenitor cells

Umbilical cord blood contains hematopoietic stem cells (HSC), which have multipotentiality. This means they can self-renew and produce other human cells like erythrocytes, leukocytes, platelets, and lymphocytes.

CD34 is a molecule that is a marker of hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) and hematopoietic progenitor cells. The CD34 marker is used to select stem cells for transplantation.

Often, the umbilical cord and placenta are discarded after birth. Now that the value of the umbilical cord is known, more uses and procedures are being discovered and developed. These procedures can even be lifesaving.

While hematopoietic cells can be used for medical treatments, these cells are also used for medical research. CD34 cells can be separated or isolated from the blood in the umbilical cord. These cells contain a protein on their surface called CD34. The cell count in a sample of umbilical cord blood can determine if the sample is viable for utilization in various aspects.

Hematopoietic progenitor cells are defined as cells that can generate specific cell types. Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) can also be found in the bone marrow and umbilical cord blood. 

Even though there are technical differences between progenitor cells and stem cells, these terms are often used interchangeably. However, technically, the progenitor cells are stem cells that are further along in their development, hence their ability to transform into only one type of cell. Stem cells can also divide indefinitely, while progenitor cells can only divide a limited amount of times. 

It is essential to recognize that even though these two cell types are used interchangeably, they differ in their maturity and ability to evolve.

Quantity of CD34 Cells

Stem cells are utilized for several procedures. When used for more complicated, serious matters (such as organ transplants), the procedure may require using blood with more available CD34 cells. Samples or blood containing lesser amounts of CD34 can be used for small children but will not suffice for an adult and would not be valid for an adult receiving chemotherapy, as substantial amounts of CD34 will need to be present for those individuals. Likewise, more complicated or involved procedures require large amounts of CD34. If the recipient receives their own blood, the amount of CD34 may be lower. Typically, samples should contain 100,000 or more to provide therapeutic benefit as is currently known. As research evolves, this amount may be lowered.

Sources of CD34 Cells

CD34 cells are found in umbilical cord blood but can also be found in other areas. CD34 cells develop from the initial stem cells, which can then be utilized for transplants, research, and other areas of regenerative medicine. However, research suggests that CD34 cells found in umbilical cord blood may be more potent than those harvested from other areas, like bone marrow. It is believed that cord blood is a rich source of these cells. While found in the umbilical cord, CD34 cells are found to a lesser extent in bone marrow, and even lesser in regular blood, and in ever smaller quantity in some other areas of the body, like tissues of blood vessels. Normal blood is not a source of harvesting CD34 cells because of the low amount available.

Cardiac repair abilities

CD34 cells have been increasing in research related to improving cardiac function. A heart attack, or cardiac infarction, can cause a lot of damage to the cardiac tissue. The utilization of CD34 cells in repairing this tissue has proven beneficial. When a cardiac infarction occurs, the body naturally produces CD34 to assist with healing damaged tissue. Using CD34 cells is a natural additive to the body’s natural healing process after the damaged tissue. CD34 cells are also shown to improve peripheral vascular disease (PVD). 

Evolving research and regenerative medicine

The science behind stem cells and specifically identifying CD34 is an evolving field. Regenerative medicine is a branch of medicine involved in helping the human body heal. The body sometimes has ways of healing itself, such as with specific injuries, living donors, and broken bones. Regenerative medicine seeks to assist with that process by helping the body heal itself through using stem cells. These stem cells are obtained through the umbilical cord, placenta, or bone marrow. This field of medicine is still evolving, so even though a certain quantity of CD34 cells may be required in some instances, there may be purposes for samples with lower amounts to be utilized in the future. In addition, while CD34 cells have been a focus of cardiac medicine, these cells have also been used in spinal cord injuries and liver cirrhosis.

The benefit of CD34 cells continues to grow as research progresses. For example, when the human body undergoes a transplant, the body must accept the organ. To prevent rejection, chemotherapy is often used (and often in high doses). When this occurs, the body can receive stem cells, and large amounts of CD34 are typically required for this procedure.

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The journey to fully understanding all involved with pregnancy, birth, and raising a child can be complicated and daunting. Anja Health is a professional, supportive company that assists all parents through this process. From educational articles to cord blood banking, Anja Health provides resources for all your family’s needs.

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