Pre-transplantation Specification of Stem Cells to Cardiac Lineage for Regeneration of Cardiac Tissue
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- Mayorga, M., Finan, A. & Penn, M. Stem Cell Rev and Rep (2009) 5: 51. doi:10.1007/s12015-009-9050-8
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Myocardial infarction (MI) is a lead cause of mortality in the Western world. Treatment of acute MI is focused on restoration of antegrade flow which inhibits further tissue loss, but does not restore function to damaged tissue. Chronic therapy for injured myocardial tissue involves medical therapy that attempts to minimize pathologic remodeling of the heart. End stage therapy for chronic heart failure (CHF) involves inotropic therapy to increase surviving cardiac myocyte function or mechanical augmentation of cardiac performance. Not until the point of heart transplantation, a limited resource at best, does therapy focus on the fundamental problem of needing to replace injured tissue with new contractile tissue. In this setting, the potential for stem cell therapy has garnered significant interest for its potential to regenerate or create new contractile cardiac tissue. While to date adult stem cell therapy in clinical trials has suggested potential benefit, there is waning belief that the approaches used to date lead to regeneration of cardiac tissue. As the literature has better defined the pathways involved in cardiac differentiation, preclinical studies have suggested that stem cell pretreatment to direct stem cell differentiation prior to stem cell transplantation may be a more efficacious strategy for inducing cardiac regeneration. Here we review the available literature on pre-transplantation conditioning of stem cells in an attempt to better understand stem cell behavior and their readiness in cell-based therapy for myocardial regeneration.