Understanding cardiomyocyte proliferation: an insight into cell cycle activity

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2017 Mar;74(6):1019-1034. doi: 10.1007/s00018-016-2375-y. Epub 2016 Sep 30.


Cardiomyocyte proliferation and regeneration are key to the functional recovery of myocardial tissue from injury. In the recent years, studies on cardiomyocyte proliferation overturned the traditional belief that adult cardiomyocytes permanently withdraw from the cell cycle activity. Hence, targeting cardiomyocyte proliferation is one of the potential therapeutic strategies for myocardial regeneration and repair. To achieve this, a deep understanding of the fundamental mechanisms involved in cardiomyocyte cell cycle as well as differences between neonatal and adult cardiomyocytes' cell cycle activity is required. This review focuses on the recent progress in understanding of cardiomyocyte cell cycle activity at different life stages viz., gestation, birth, and adulthood. The temporal expression/activities of major cell cycle activators (cyclins and CDKs), inhibitors (p21, p27, p57, p16, and p18), and cell-cycle-associated proteins (Rb, p107, and p130) in cardiomyocytes during gestation and postnatal life are described in this review. The influence of different transcription factors and microRNAs on the expression of cell cycle proteins is demonstrated. This review also deals major pathways (PI3K/AKT, Wnt/β-catenin, and Hippo-YAP) associated with cardiomyocyte cell cycle progression. Furthermore, the postnatal alterations in structure and cellular events responsible for the loss of cell cycle activity are also illustrated.

Keywords: Cardiomyocytes; Cell cycle; Cyclins; MicroRNAs; Signaling pathways; Transcription factors.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Heart / embryology
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / cytology*
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / metabolism
  • Wound Healing


  • MicroRNAs