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J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2014 Oct;75:12-24. doi: 10.1016/j.yjmcc.2014.06.016. Epub 2014 Jul 3.

Cell therapy for human ischemic heart diseases: critical review and summary of the clinical experiences.

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Department of Cardiology, Medical University of Vienna, Austria.
Department of Biomedical Laboratory and Imaging Science, Faculty of Medicine, University of Debrecen, Debrecen, Hungary.
Exercise Biochemistry Laboratory, The University of Memphis, Department of Health and Sport Sciences, Memphis, TN, USA.
Department of Cardiology, University of Medicine and Pharmacy Tirgu Mures, Romania.
Internal Medicine, Mayo Graduate School of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA.
3(rd) Dept. Cardiology and Emergency Medicine, Wilhelminen hospital, Vienna, Austria.
Department of Cardiology, Medical University of Vienna, Austria. Electronic address:


A decade ago, stem or progenitor cells held the promise of tissue regeneration in human myocardium, with the expectation that these therapies could rescue ischemic myocyte damage, enhance vascular density and rebuild injured myocardium. The accumulated evidence in 2014 indicates, however, that the therapeutic success of these cells is modest and the tissue regeneration involves much more complex processes than cell-related biologics. As the quest for the ideal cell or combination of cells continues, alternative cell types, such as resident cardiac cells, adipose-derived or phenotypic modified stem or progenitor cells have also been applied, with the objective of increasing both the number and the retention of the reparative cells in the myocardium. Two main delivery routes (intracoronary and percutaneous intramyocardial) of stem cells are currently used preferably for patients with recent acute myocardial infarction or ischemic cardiomyopathy. Other delivery modes, such as surgical or intravenous via peripheral veins or coronary sinus have also been utilized with less success. Due to the difficult recruitment of patients within conceivable timeframe into cardiac regenerative trials, meta-analyses of human cardiac cell-based studies have tried to gather sufficient number of subjects to present a statistical compelling statement, reporting modest success with a mean increase of 0.9-6.1% in left ventricular global ejection fraction. Additionally, nearly half of the long-term studies reported the disappearance of the initial benefit of this treatment. Beside further extensive efforts to increase the efficacy of currently available methods, pre-clinical experiments using new techniques such as tissue engineering or exploiting paracrine effect hold promise to regenerate injured human cardiac tissue.


Cardiac regeneration; Cardio-myogenic stem and progenitor cells; Human clinical trial; Intracoronary delivery; Intramyocardial injection; Myocardial infarction; Review

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