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Physiol Rev. 2007 Apr;87(2):521-44.

Cardiac myocyte cell cycle control in development, disease, and regeneration.

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Division of Cardiology, University of California at Los Angeles, The Cardiovascular Research Laboratory, Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine 90095-1760, USA.


Cardiac myocytes rapidly proliferate during fetal life but exit the cell cycle soon after birth in mammals. Although the extent to which adult cardiac myocytes are capable of cell cycle reentry is controversial and species-specific differences may exist, it appears that for the vast majority of adult cardiac myocytes the predominant form of growth postnatally is an increase in cell size (hypertrophy) not number. Unfortunately, this limits the ability of the heart to restore function after any significant injury. Interest in novel regenerative therapies has led to the accumulation of much information on the mechanisms that regulate the rapid proliferation of cardiac myocytes in utero, their cell cycle exit in the perinatal period, and the permanent arrest (terminal differentiation) in adult myocytes. The recent identification of cardiac progenitor cells capable of giving rise to cardiac myocyte-like cells has challenged the dogma that the heart is a terminally differentiated organ and opened new prospects for cardiac regeneration. In this review, we summarize the current understanding of cardiomyocyte cell cycle control in normal development and disease. In addition, we also discuss the potential usefulness of cardiomyocyte self-renewal as well as feasibility of therapeutic manipulation of the cardiac myocyte cell cycle for cardiac regeneration.

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