, Volume 5, Issue 5, pp 566-580
Date: 18 Jul 2012

Embryonic Template-Based Generation and Purification of Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Cardiomyocytes for Heart Repair

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Cardiovascular disease remains a leading cause of death in Western countries. Many types of cardiovascular diseases are due to a loss of functional cardiomyocytes, which can result in irreversible cardiac failure. Since the adult human heart has limited regenerative potential, cardiac transplantation is still the only effective therapy to address this cardiomyocyte loss. However, drawbacks, such as immune rejection and insufficient donor availability, are limiting this last-resort solution. Recent developments in the stem cell biology field have improved the potential of cardiac regeneration. Improvements in reprogramming strategies of differentiated adult cells into induced pluripotent stem cells, together with increased efficiency of directed differentiation of pluripotent stem cells toward cardiac myocytes, have brought cell-based heart muscle regeneration a few steps closer to the clinic. In this review, we outline the status of research on cardiac regeneration with a focus on directed differentiation of pluripotent stem cells toward the cardiac lineage.