, Volume 66, Issue 5, pp 800-813

Human stem cells as a model for cardiac differentiation and disease

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Studies on identification, derivation and characterization of human stem cells in the last decade have led to high expectations in the field of regenerative medicine. Although it is clear that for successful stem cell-based therapy several obstacles have to be overcome, other opportunities lay ahead for the use of human stem cells. A more immediate application would be the development of human models for cell-type specific differentiation and disease in vitro. Cardiomyocytes can be generated from stem cells, which have been shown to follow similar molecular events of cardiac development in vivo. Furthermore, several monogenic cardiovascular diseases have been described, for which in vitro models in stem cells could be generated. Here, we will discuss the potential of human embryonic stem cells, cardiac stem cells and the recently described induced pluripotent stem cells as models for cardiac differentiation and disease.

Received 07 August 2008; received after revision 26 September 2008; accepted 03 October 2008