Congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease are the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the United States despite substantial therapeutic advances in the last half century. Only very recently have studies arisen that support possibility of regenerating tissue of damaged human organs including the heart. In this regard, there is growing pre-clinical and clinical evidence demonstrating the safety and efficacy of cell-based myocardial regeneration using a variety of cell lines. Although the data on the exact mechanism of action and the fate of the administered cells is controversial, there is consistent evidence for improved cardiac function and myocardial regeneration using defferent cell types. This extraordinarily exciting scientific advance has forced cardiovascular scientists to re-evaluate the long-held paradigm of cardiac myocyte terminal differentiation and life-long longevity of the cardiac myocytes that comprise the heart. Whereas, these new ideas originated with attempts to perform cellular transplantation using exogenous stem or precursor cells, mechanistic insights have rapidly evolved to the realization that adult organs harbor stem cells with significant plasticity, capable of repopulating their respective organ. Indeed these cells may be harnessed as a therapeutic agent or may represent the target of regenerative therapeutic strategies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine