Human umbilical cord blood is an excellent primitive source of noncontroversial stem cells for treatment of hematologic disorders; meanwhile, new stem cell candidates in the umbilical cord (UC) tissue could provide therapeutic cells for nonhematologic disorders. We show novel in situ characterization to identify and localize a panel of some markers expressed by mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs; CD44, CD105, CD73, CD90) and CD146 in the UC. We describe enzymatic isolation and purification methods of different UC cell populations that do not require manual separation of the vessels and stroma of the coiled, helical-like UC tissue. Unique quantitation of in situ cell frequency and stromal cell counts upon harvest illustrate the potential to obtain high numerical yields with these methods. UC stromal cells can differentiate to the osteogenic and chondrogenic lineages and, under specific culturing conditions, they exhibit high expandability with unique long-term stability of their phenotype. The remarkable stability of the phenotype represents a novel finding for human MSCs, from any source, and supports the use of these cells as highly accessible stromal cells for both basic studies and potentially therapeutic applications such as allogeneic clinical use for musculoskeletal disorders. Copyright (C) 2009 Rebecca C. Schugar et al.