Multipotent stem cells of the heart-do they have therapeutic promise?

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© 2015 Leite, Almeida, Lopes and Dias da Silva. The last decade has brought a comprehensive change in our view of cardiac remodeling processes under both physiological and pathological conditions, and cardiac stem cells have become important new players in the general mainframe of cardiac homeostasis. Different types of cardiac stem cells show different capacities for differentiation into the three major cardiac lineages: myocytes, endothelial cells and smooth muscle cells. Physiologically, cardiac stem cells contribute to cardiac homeostasis through continual cellular turnover. Pathologically, these cells exhibit a high level of proliferative activity in an apparent attempt to repair acute cardiac injury, indicating that these cells possess (albeit limited) regenerative potential. In addition to cardiac stem cells, mesenchymal stem cells represent another multipotent cell population in the heart; these cells are located in regions near pericytes and exhibit regenerative, angiogenic, antiapoptotic, and immunosuppressive properties. The discovery of these resident cardiac stem cells was followed by a number of experimental studies in animal models of cardiomyopathies, in which cardiac stem cells were tested as a therapeutic option to overcome the limited transdifferentiating potential of hematopoietic or mesenchymal stem cells derived from bone marrow. The promising results of these studies prompted clinical studies of the role of these cells, which have demonstrated the safety and practicability of cellular therapies for the treatment of heart disease. However, questions remain regarding this new therapeutic approach. Thus, the aim of the present review was to discuss the multitude of different cardiac stem cells that have been identified, their possible functional roles in the cardiac regenerative process, and their potential therapeutic uses in treating cardiac diseases.




Leite, C. F., Almeida, T. R., Lopes, C. S., & Dias da Silva, V. J. (2015). Multipotent stem cells of the heart-do they have therapeutic promise? Frontiers in Physiology. Frontiers Media S.A.

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