The possibility of using stem cells to regenerate damaged myocardium has been actively investigated since the late 1990s. Consistent with the traditional view that the heart is a "postmitotic" organ that possesses minimal capacity for self-repair, much of the preclinical and clinical work has focused exclusively on introducing stem cells into the heart, with the hope of differentiation of these cells into functioning cardiomyocytes. This approach is ongoing and retains promise but to date has yielded inconsistent successes. More recently, it has become widely appreciated that the heart possesses endogenous repair mechanisms that, if adequately stimulated, might regenerate damaged cardiac tissue from in situ cardiac stem cells. Accordingly, much recent work has focused on engaging and enhancing endogenous cardiac repair mechanisms. This article reviews the literature on stem cell-based myocardial regeneration, placing emphasis on the mutually enriching interaction between basic and clinical research.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine