Stem Cell Reviews and Reports

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 281–302 | Cite as

Optimization of the Cardiovascular Therapeutic Properties of Mesenchymal Stromal/Stem Cells–Taking the Next Step

  • James D. Richardson
  • Adam J. Nelson
  • Andrew C. W. Zannettino
  • Stan Gronthos
  • Stephen G. Worthley
  • Peter J. PsaltisEmail author


Despite current treatment options, cardiac failure is associated with significant morbidity and mortality highlighting a compelling clinical need for novel therapeutic approaches. Based on promising pre-clinical data, stem cell therapy has been suggested as a possible therapeutic strategy. Of the candidate cell types evaluated, mesenchymal stromal/stem cells (MSCs) have been widely evaluated due to their ease of isolation and ex vivo expansion, potential allogeneic utility and capacity to promote neo-angiogenesis and endogenous cardiac repair. However, the clinical application of MSCs for mainstream cardiovascular use is currently hindered by several important limitations, including suboptimal retention and engraftment and restricted capacity for bona fide cardiomyocyte regeneration. Consequently, this has prompted intense efforts to advance the therapeutic properties of MSCs for cardiovascular disease. In this review, we consider the scope of benefit from traditional plastic adherence-isolated MSCs and the lessons learned from their conventional use in preclinical and clinical studies. Focus is then given to the evolving strategies aimed at optimizing MSC therapy, including discussion of cell-targeted techniques that encompass the preparation, pre-conditioning and manipulation of these cells ex vivo, methods to improve their delivery to the heart and innovative substrate-directed strategies to support their interaction with the host myocardium.


Cardiomyopathy Ischemic heart disease Limitations Mesenchymal stem cells Mesenchymal precursor cells Myocardial infarction Optimization Paracrine Pre-conditioning Tissue engineering 



Dr Richardson is supported by an International Postgraduate Research Scholarship, University of Adelaide and an Australian Postgraduate Award. Dr Psaltis has received funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.

Conflicts of interest

The authors report no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • James D. Richardson
    • 1
  • Adam J. Nelson
    • 1
  • Andrew C. W. Zannettino
    • 2
  • Stan Gronthos
    • 2
  • Stephen G. Worthley
    • 1
  • Peter J. Psaltis
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Cardiovascular Research Centre, Royal Adelaide Hospital and Department of MedicineUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Haematology, SA Pathology and Centre for Stem Cell Research, Robinson Institute, Discipline of MedicineUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  3. 3.Division of Cardiovascular DiseasesMayo ClinicRochesterUSA

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