Effect of Maternal Iron Status on the Number of CD34+ Stem Cells Harvested from Umbilical Cord Blood

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This article was originally published as:

Pope, B., Hokin, B., & Grant, R. (2014). Effect of maternal iron status on the number of CD34+ stem cells harvested from umbilical cord blood. Transfusion, 54(7), 1876–1880. doi: 10.1111/trf.12547

ISSN: 1537-2995


111499 Paediatrics and Reproductive Medicine not elsewhere classified



Hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs) from umbilical cord blood (UCB) are an alternative source of stem cells. However an adequate number of HPCs must be harvested from each UCB sample to make therapeutic applications possible. This study investigated the impact of selected maternal indices (in particular iron status) on the number of CD34+ cells collected in the UCB.

Study Design and Methods

Blood samples were collected from 91 matched mother and umbilical cord pairs and analyzed for full blood count, iron status, and C-reactive protein. Viable CD34 enumeration was performed on the cord blood samples.


Low CD34+ cell counts were associated with higher maternal serum ferritin (SF), older mothers, lower UCB white blood cell count (WCC), lower UCB nucleated red blood cells (NRBCs), and lower birthweight. Maternal SF correlated with maternal variables of iron status and RBC indices, newborn weight, placental weight, and NRBCs/100 WCC.


This study indicates that lower numbers of CD34+ cells are more likely to occur when collected from mothers with higher SF. This finding suggests that maternal SF and associated iron status play a significant, but as yet undefined, role in the generation of CD34+ cells in UCB.


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At the time of writing Ross Grant was affiliated with Avondale College of Higher Education as a conjoint lecturer.

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