Cardiovascular development: towards biomedical applicability
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Regardless of erroneous claims by a minority of reports, adult cardiomyocytes are terminally differentiated cells which do not re-enter the cell-cycle under any known physiological or pathological circumstances. However, it has recently been shown that the adult heart has a robust myocardial regenerative potential, which challenges the accepted notions of cardiac cellular biology. The source of this regenerative potential is constituted by resident cardiac stem cells (CSCs). These CSCs, through both cell transplantation and in situ activation, have the capacity to regenerate significant segmental and diffuse myocyte losts, restoring anatomical integrity and ventricular function. Thus, CSC identification has started a brand new discipline of cardiac biology that could profoundly changed the outlook of cardiac physiology and the potential for treatment of cardiac failure. Nonetheless, the dawn of this new era should not be set back by premature attempts at clinical application before having accumulated the required scientifically reproducible data.