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Life Sci. 2012 Oct 29;91(17-18):823-7. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2012.08.034. Epub 2012 Sep 12.

Regeneration in heart disease-Is ECM the key?

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Cardiac Muscle Research Laboratory, Cardiovascular Division, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


The heart possesses a regeneration potential derived from endogenous and exogenous stem and progenitor cell populations, though baseline regeneration appears to be sub-therapeutic. This limitation was initially attributed to a lack of cells with cardiomyogenic potential following an insult to the myocardium. Rather, recent studies demonstrate increased numbers of cardiomyocyte progenitor cells in diseased hearts. Given that the limiting factor does not appear to be cell quantity but rather repletion of functional cardiomyocytes, it is crucial to understand potential mechanisms inhibiting progenitor cell differentiation. One of the extensively studied areas in heart disease is extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling, with both the composition and mechanical properties of the ECM undergoing changes in diseased hearts. This review explores the influence of ECM properties on cardiomyogenesis and adult cardiac progenitor cells.

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