Heart diseases, including myocardial infarction (MI) and congestive heart failure (CHF), have high mortality rates. Both MI and CHF are characterized by cardiac muscle damage caused by massive cardiomyocyte death and reduced cardiac function. Cellular therapy aimed at using cells to improve cardiac function and/or regenerate new myocardium, has been extensively investigated for cardiac repair. Two strategies have been currently taken for cellular transplantation, including in situ cellular cardiomyoplasty and cardiac tissue engineering. The in situ cellular cardiomyoplasty strategy delivers cells directly into the infarcted myocardium. A variety of cell types has been shown to be beneficial in cardiac repair. However, this strategy is limited in terms of cell retention, survival of the engrafted cells, cell differentiation, and integration of transplanted cells with host tissue. Cardiac tissue engineering is an alternate strategy to in situ cellular cardiomyoplasty, which is designed to repair infarcted myocardium using cells, biomaterials and regulative factors (for example growth factors). There are currently various approaches for cardiac tissue engineering, such as, in situ delivering cells with injectable biomaterials into the infarcted myocardium, in vitro engineering of contractile tissue constructs followed by in vivo implantation, in vitro engineering of stem cell loaded tissue constructs for in vivo myocardium regeneration, and cell sheet tissue engineering. This review provides a comprehensive progress of in situ cellular cardiomyoplasty and cardiac tissue engineering for cardiac repair. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.
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