This article discusses current understanding of myocardial biology, emphasizing the regeneration potential of the adult human heart and the mechanisms involved. In the last decade, a novel conceptual view has emerged. The heart is no longer considered a postmitotic organ, but is viewed as a self-renewing organ characterized by a resident stem cell compartment responsible for tissue homeostasis and cardiac repair following injury. Additionally, HSCs possess the ability to transdifferentiate and acquire the cardiomyocyte, vascular endothelial, and smooth muscle cell lineages. Both cardiac and hematopoietic stem cells may be used therapeutically in an attempt to reverse the devastating consequences of chronic heart failure of ischemic and nonischemic origin.
Piero Anversa, Jan Kajstura, Marcello Rota, Annarosa Leri