Cardiac stem cells and their roles in myocardial infarction

Stem Cell Rev Rep. 2013 Jun;9(3):326-38. doi: 10.1007/s12015-012-9421-4.


Myocardial infarction leads to loss of cardiomyocytes, scar formation, ventricular remodeling and eventually deterioration of heart function. Over the past decade, stem cell therapy has emerged as a novel strategy for patients with ischemic heart disease and its beneficial effects have been demonstrated by substantial preclinical and clinical studies. Efficacy of several types of stem cells in the therapy of cardiovascular diseases has already been evaluated. However, repair of injured myocardium through stem cell transplantation is restricted by critical safety issues and ethic concerns. Recently, the discovery of cardiac stem cells (CSCs) that reside in the heart itself brings new prospects for myocardial regeneration and reconstitution of cardiac tissues. CSCs are positive for various stem cell markers and have the potential of self-renewal and multilineage differentiation. They play a pivotal role in the maintenance of heart homeostasis and cardiac repair. Elucidation of their biological characteristics and functions they exert in myocardial infarction are very crucial to further investigations on them. This review will focus on the field of cardiac stem cells and discuss technical and practical issues that may involve in their clinical applications in myocardial infarction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell- and Tissue-Based Therapy*
  • Heart
  • Humans
  • Myocardial Infarction / therapy*
  • Myocardial Ischemia / therapy*
  • Myocardium / cytology
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / cytology
  • Regeneration
  • Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Stem Cells
  • Tissue Engineering