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Ther Adv Cardiovasc Dis. 2009 Jun;3(3):215-29. doi: 10.1177/1753944709336190. Epub 2009 May 14.

A heart full of stem cells: the spectrum of myocardial progenitor cells in the postnatal heart.

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  • 1BCRT Berlin-Brandenburg Center for Regenerative Therapies, Berlin, Germany.


Influencing cellular regeneration processes in the heart has been a long-standing goal in cardiovascular medicine. To some extent, this has been successful in terms of vascular regeneration as well as intercellular connective tissue remodeling processes. Several components of today's routine heart failure medication influence endothelial progenitor cell behavior and support collateral vessel growth in the heart, or have been shown to prevent or reverse fibrosis processes. Cardiomyocyte regeneration, however, has so far escaped therapeutic manipulation strategies. Delivery of exogenous cells of bone marrow origin to the human myocardium may improve heart function, but is not associated with relevant neomyogenesis. However, accumulating evidence indicates that the myocardium contains resident cardiac progenitor cells (CPC) that may be therapeutically useful. This notion indeed represents a paradigm shift but is still controversial. The purpose of this review is to summarize the rapidly expanding current knowledge on CPC, and to assess whether it may be translated into solid therapeutic concepts.

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