Stem cell transplantation as a therapy for cardiac fibrosis

Authors

  • Mohammad T Elnakish,

    1. Dorothy M Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA
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  • Periannan Kuppusamy,

    1. Dorothy M Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA
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  • Mahmood Khan

    Corresponding author
    1. Dorothy M Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA
    • Correspondence to: Mahmood Khan, MPharm, PhD, The Ohio State University, 420 W 12th Avenue, Room 188, Columbus, OH 43210, USA. e-mail: mahmood.khan@osumc.edu

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  • No conflicts of interest were declared.

Abstract

Cardiac fibrosis is a fundamental constituent of most cardiac pathologies and represents the upshot of nearly all types of cardiac injury. Generally, fibrosis is a scarring process, characterized by accumulation of fibroblasts and deposition of increasing amounts of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins in the myocardium. Therapeutic approaches that control fibroblast activity and evade maladaptive processes could represent a potential strategy to attenuate progression towards heart failure. Currently, cell therapy is actively perceived as an alternative to traditional pharmacological management of myocardial infarction (MI). The majority of the studies applying stem cell therapy following MI have demonstrated a decline in fibrosis. However, it was not clearly recognized whether the decline in cardiac fibrosis was due to replacement of dead cardiomyocytes or because of the direct effects of paracrine factors released from the transplanted stem cells on the ECM. Therefore, the main focus of this review is to discuss the impact of different types of stem cells on cardiac fibrosis and associated cardiac remodelling in a variety of experimental models of heart failure, particularly MI.

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