Differently from some lower vertebrates, which can completely regenerate their heart, in higher vertebrates cardiac injury generally leads to progressive failure. Induction of cycle re-entry in terminally differentiated cardiomyocytes and stem-cell transplantation are strategies to increase the regenerative potential of the heart. As experimental and clinical studies progress, demonstrating that adult stem-cell administration has a favorable impact on myocardial function, the identification of cardiac stem cells suggests that some endogenous repair mechanisms actually exist in the mammalian heart. However, a deeper understanding of the mechanism that drives cardiomyocyte proliferation and stem-cell-mediated cardiac repair is required to translate such strategies into effective therapies.
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