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Keywords:

  • Embryonic stem cells;
  • Bone marrow;
  • Muscle stem cells;
  • Stem cell transplantation;
  • Tissue regeneration;
  • Cardiac

Abstract

Advanced heart failure represents a leading public health problem in the developed world. The clinical syndrome results from the loss of viable and/or fully functional myocardial tissue. Designing new approaches to augment the number of functioning human cardiac muscle cells in the failing heart serve as the foundation of modern regenerative cardiovascular medicine. A number of clinical trials have been performed in an attempt to increase the number of functional myocardial cells by the transplantation of a diverse group of stem or progenitor cells. Although there are some encouraging suggestions of a small early therapeutic benefit, to date, no evidence for robust cell or tissue engraftment has been shown, emphasizing the need for new approaches. Clinically meaningful cardiac regeneration requires the identification of the optimum cardiogenic cell types and their assembly into mature myocardial tissue that is functionally and electrically coupled to the native myocardium. We here review recent advances in stem cell biology and tissue engineering and describe how the convergence of these two fields may yield novel approaches for cardiac regeneration. Stem Cells 2013;31:2587–2598