Pluripotent stem cells for cardiac regeneration: Overview of recent advances & emerging trends

Pawani, Harsha; Bhartiya, Deepa
February 2013
Indian Journal of Medical Research;Feb2013, Vol. 137 Issue 2, p270
Academic Journal
Cell based regenerative therapy has emerged as one of the most promising options of treatment for patients suffering from heart failure. Various adult stem cells types have undergone extensive clinical trials with limited success which is believed to be more of a cytokine effect rather than cell therapy. Pluripotent human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) have emerged as an attractive candidate stem cell source for obtaining cardiomyocytes (CMs) because of their tremendous capacity for expansion and unquestioned potential to differentiate into CMs. Studies carried out in animal models indicate that ES-derived CMs can partially remuscularize infarcted hearts and improve contractile function; however, the effect was not sustained over long follow up periods due to their limited capacity of cell division in vivo. Thus, the concept of transplanting multipotent cardiovascular progenitors derived from ES cells has emerged since the progenitors retain robust proliferative ability and multipotent nature enabling repopulation of other myocardial elements also in addition to CMs. Transplantation of CMs (progenitors) seeded in biodegradable scaffold and gel based engineered constructs has met with modest success due to issues like cell penetration, nutrient and oxygen availability and inflammation triggered during scaffold degradation inversely affecting the seeded cells. Recently cell sheet based tissue engineering involving culturing cells on 'intelligent' polymers has been evolved. Generation of a 3-D pulsatile myocardial tissue has been achieved. However, these advances have to be looked at with cautious optimism as many challenges need to be overcome before using these in clinical practice.


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