Mesenchymal progenitor or stem cells (MPCs) isolated from fetal blood, liver, and bone marrow are a population of multipotential cells that can proliferate and differentiate into multiple mesodermal tissues including bone, cartilage, muscle, ligament, tendon, fat, and stroma. The objective of this study was to isolate and characterize MPCs in the human umbilical cord. The suspensions of endothelial and subendothelial cells in cord vein were collected and cultured in M199 supplemented with 10% fetal bovine serum (FBS). Of 50 umbilical cord samples, 3 had numerous fibroblastoid cells morphologically distinguishable from endothelial cells. Fibroblastic cells displayed lack of expression of vWF, Flk-1, and PECAM-1, indicating the endothelial cell-specific marker. To investigate the differentiation potentials, the cells were cultured in adipogenic or osteogenic medium for 2 weeks. Fibroblast-like cells treated with adipogenic supplementation showed Oil red O-positive staining and expressed adipsin, FABP4, LPL, and PPARgamma2 genes by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). In osteogenic differentiation, alkaline phosphatase activity and calcium accumulation were detected. RT-PCR studies determined that Cx43, osteopontin, and Runx2 genes were expressed in the osteogenic cultures. Among three cell lines cultured continuously for passage 10, two had normal karyotypes; however, one retained a karyotype of mos 46,XY/47,XY,+mar. These observations suggest that MPCs are present in human umbilical cord and possess several typical traits of MPCs.