Autophagy maintains cellular homeostasis and plays a crucial role in managing pathological conditions including ischemic myocardial injury leading to heart failure (HF). Despite treatments, no intervention can replace lost cardiomyocytes. Stem cell therapy offers potential for post-myocardial infarction repair but struggles with poor cell retention due to immune rejection. In the search for effective therapies, stem cell-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs), especially exosomes, have emerged as promising tools. These tiny bioactive molecule carriers play vital roles in intercellular communication and tissue engineering. They offer numerous therapeutic benefits including modulating immune responses, promoting tissue repair, and boosting angiogenesis. Additionally, biomaterials provide a conducive 3D microenvironment for cell, exosome, and biomolecule delivery, and enhance heart muscle strength, making it a comprehensive cardiac repair strategy. In this regard, the current review delves into the intricate application of extracellular vesicles (EVs) and biomaterials for managing autophagy in the heart muscle during cardiac injury. Central to our investigation is the exploration of how these elements interact within the context of cardiac repair and regeneration. Additionally, this review also casts light on the formidable challenges that plague this field, such as the issues of safety, efficacy, controlled delivery, and acceptance of these therapeutic strategies for effective clinical translation. Addressing these challenges is crucial for unlocking the full therapeutic potential of EV and biomaterial-based therapies and ensuring their successful translation from bench to bedside.
Copyright © 2023. Published by Elsevier B.V.