Resetting the epigenome for heart regeneration

Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2016 Oct:58:2-13. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2015.12.021. Epub 2016 Jan 7.


In contrast to adults, recent evidence suggests that neonatal mice are able to regenerate following cardiac injury. This regenerative capacity is reliant on robust induction of cardiomyocyte proliferation, which is required for faithful regeneration of the heart following injury. However, cardiac regenerative potential is lost as cardiomyocytes mature and permanently withdraw from the cell cycle shortly after birth. Recently, a handful of factors responsible for the regenerative disparity between the adult and neonatal heart have been identified, but the proliferative response of adult cardiomyocytes following modulation of these factors rarely reaches neonatal levels. The inefficient re-induction of proliferation in adult cardiomyocytes may be due to the epigenetic landscape, which drastically changes during cardiac development and maturation. In this review, we provide an overview of the role of epigenetic modifiers in developmental processes related to cardiac regeneration. We propose an epigenetic framework for heart regeneration whereby adult cardiomyocyte identity requires resetting to a neonatal-like state to facilitate cell cycle re-entry and regeneration following cardiac injury.

Keywords: Cardiac development; Cardiomyocyte proliferation; Epigenetics; Heart regeneration; Reprogramming.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cellular Reprogramming / genetics
  • DNA Methylation / genetics
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Heart / embryology
  • Heart / physiology*
  • Models, Genetic
  • Regeneration / genetics
  • Regeneration / physiology*