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Cardiac Stem Cells

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Lets Take Heart from in vivo Direct Reprogramming “Heart repair by reprogramming non-myocytes with cardiac transcription factors” and “In vivo reprogramming of murine cardiac fibroblasts into induced cardiomyocytes”

The lack of innate regenerative potential in the heart has made it a focus for external regenerative therapy (Yacoub et al). Cellular therapies include the derivation of cardiomyocytes (CMs), which account for a majority of cells in the heart, from embryonic stem cells (ESCs) or induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). However these methods have associated challenges such as their delivery, integration, rejection, cellular maturation and efficient differentiation (Murry and Keller, Passier et al and Srivastava and Ivey). Now, two important papers published in Nature have confirmed that mouse non-myocyte cells can efficiently be directly reprogrammed through the forced expression of specific transcription factors into CM-like cells in vivo (Song et al and Qian et al) which is also shown to improve cardiac function following an ischaemic event.

To the Heart of the Matter: De novo cardiomyocytes from within the activated adult heart after injury

From Nature
By Stuart P. Atkinson

The potential for cell replacement through the differentiation of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) or induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) is a promising means of therapeutic intervention in many disease states, but may be limited by several problems, such as limited graft survival, restricted homing to the site of injury and host immune rejection. An alternative to this is the possibility of stimulating resident adult stem cells within the tissue to aid repair. It is generally assumed that the cells of the adult epicardium (the outer layer of heart tissue) are quiescent, incapable of migration or differentiation, while cells of the embryonic epicardium possess an innate ability to proliferate, migrate and differentiate into a number of mature cardiovascular cell types. However, data now suggests that resident stem/progenitor cells in the adult heart may produce de novo cardiomyocytes following injury.

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