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Keywords:

  • Heart;
  • Confocal and light microscopy;
  • Mitosis;
  • Chimerism;
  • Bone marrow cell transdifferentiationEnhanced green fluorescent protein autofluorescence

Abstract

This review discusses the current controversy about the role that endogenous and exogenous progenitor cells have in cardiac homeostasis and myocardial regeneration following injury. Although great enthusiasm was created by the possibility of reconstituting the damaged heart, the opponents of this new concept of cardiac biology have interpreted most of the findings supporting this possibility as the product of technical artifacts. This article challenges this established, static view of cardiac growth and favors the notion that the mammalian heart has the inherent ability to replace its cardiomyocytes through the activation of a pool of resident primitive cells or the administration of hematopoietic stem cells.