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Br Med Bull. 2017 Jan 1;121(1):135-154. doi: 10.1093/bmb/ldw059.

Stem cell therapy for ischemic heart diseases.

Yu H1,2, Lu K1,2,3, Zhu J1,2, Wang J1,2.

Author information

Department of Cardiology, Second Affiliated Hospital, College of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, 310009, P.R. China.
Cardiovascular Key Laboratory of Zhejiang Province, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, 310009, P.R. China.
Department of Cardiology, The First People's Hospital of Huzhou, 158 Guangchanghou Road, Huzhou, Zhejiang Province, 313000, P.R. China.



Ischemic heart diseases, especially the myocardial infarction, is a major hazard problem to human health. Despite substantial advances in control of risk factors and therapies with drugs and interventions including bypass surgery and stent placement, the ischemic heart diseases usually result in heart failure (HF), which could aggravate social burden and increase the mortality rate. The current therapeutic methods to treat HF stay at delaying the disease progression without repair and regeneration of the damaged myocardium. While heart transplantation is the only effective therapy for end-stage patients, limited supply of donor heart makes it impossible to meet the substantial demand from patients with HF. Stem cell-based transplantation is one of the most promising treatment for the damaged myocardial tissue.

Sources of data:

Key recent published literatures and

Areas of agreement:

Stem cell-based therapy is a promising strategy for the damaged myocardial tissue. Different kinds of stem cells have their advantages for treatment of Ischemic heart diseases.

Areas of controversy:

The efficacy and potency of cell therapies vary significantly from trial to trial; some clinical trials did not show benefit. Diverged effects of cell therapy could be affected by cell types, sources, delivery methods, dose and their mechanisms by which delivered cells exert their effects.

Growing points:

Understanding the origin of the regenerated cardiomyocytes, exploring the therapeutic effects of stem cell-derived exosomes and using the cell reprogram technology to improve the efficacy of cell therapy for cardiovascular diseases.

Areas timely for developing research:

Recently, stem cell-derived exosomes emerge as a critical player in paracrine mechanism of stem cell-based therapy. It is promising to exploit exosomes-based cell-free therapy for ischemic heart diseases in the future.


angiogenesis; exosome; genetic modification; ischemic heart diseases; preconditioning; stem cells; transplantation

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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