Thymosin beta4 and cardiac repair

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2010 Apr:1194:87-96. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2010.05468.x.


Hypoxic heart disease is a predominant cause of disability and death worldwide. As adult mammals are incapable of cardiac repair after infarction, the discovery of effective methods to achieve myocardial and vascular regeneration is crucial. Efforts to use stem cells to repopulate damaged tissue are currently limited by technical considerations and restricted cell potential. We discovered that the small, secreted peptide thymosin beta4 (Tbeta4) could be sufficiently used to inhibit myocardial cell death, stimulate vessel growth, and activate endogenous cardiac progenitors by reminding the adult heart on its embryonic program in vivo. The initiation of epicardial thickening accompanied by increase of myocardial and epicardial progenitors with or without infarction indicate that the reactivation process is independent of injury. Our results demonstrate Tbeta4 to be the first known molecule able to initiate simultaneous myocardial and vascular regeneration after systemic administration in vivo. Given our findings, the utility of Tbeta4 to heal cardiac injury may hold promise and warrant further investigation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Heart / embryology
  • Heart / physiology
  • Heart Diseases / genetics
  • Heart Diseases / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Myocardium / cytology*
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / cytology*
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / metabolism
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / physiology
  • Regeneration / genetics
  • Regeneration / physiology*
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Stem Cells / physiology
  • Thymosin / genetics
  • Thymosin / metabolism*
  • Wound Healing / genetics


  • thymosin beta(4)
  • Thymosin