IMAJ | volume
Journal 4, April 2006
Ventricular remodeling and heart failure are the inevitable consequences of myocardial infarction. Current options to cure myocardial infarction and subsequent heart failure suffer from specific limitations. Thus, alternative, additional long-term therapeutic strategies are needed to cure this costly and deadly disease. Cardiac regeneration is a promising new therapeutic option. Through cellular and molecular therapies, the concept of in situ "growing" heart muscle, vascular tissue and manipulating the extracellular matrix environment promises to revolutionize the approach of treating heart disease. Recent studies have suggested that stem cells resident within the bone marrow or peripheral blood can be recruited to the injured heart. The regeneration of damaged heart tissue may include the mobilization of progenitor or stem cells to the damaged area or stimulation of a regenerative program within the organ. There is now evidence accumulating that the heart contains resident stem cells that can be induced to develop into cardiac muscle and vascular tissue. The present review aims to describe the potential, the current status and the future challenges of myocardial regeneration by adult stem cells.