Stem Cell Reviews and Reports

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 326–338 | Cite as

Cardiac Stem Cells and their Roles in Myocardial Infarction

  • Jingying Hou
  • Lingyun Wang
  • Jieyu Jiang
  • Changqing Zhou
  • Tianzhu Guo
  • Shaoxin Zheng
  • Tong WangEmail author


Myocardial infarction leads to loss of cardiomyocytes, scar formation, ventricular remodeling and eventually deterioration of heart function. Over the past decade, stem cell therapy has emerged as a novel strategy for patients with ischemic heart disease and its beneficial effects have been demonstrated by substantial preclinical and clinical studies. Efficacy of several types of stem cells in the therapy of cardiovascular diseases has already been evaluated. However, repair of injured myocardium through stem cell transplantation is restricted by critical safety issues and ethic concerns. Recently, the discovery of cardiac stem cells (CSCs) that reside in the heart itself brings new prospects for myocardial regeneration and reconstitution of cardiac tissues. CSCs are positive for various stem cell markers and have the potential of self-renewal and multilineage differentiation. They play a pivotal role in the maintenance of heart homeostasis and cardiac repair. Elucidation of their biological characteristics and functions they exert in myocardial infarction are very crucial to further investigations on them. This review will focus on the field of cardiac stem cells and discuss technical and practical issues that may involve in their clinical applications in myocardial infarction.


Cardiac stem cells Myocardial infarction Cell therapy Myocardial regeneration Cardiac repair 



Cardiac stem cells


Myocardial infarction


Cardiac progenitor cells


Embryonic stem cells


Bone marrow stem cells


Induced pluripotent stem cells


Embryo progenitor cells


Bone marrow progenitors cells


Side population


Left ventricular


Myogenic CSCs


Vasculogenic CSCs


Insulin-like growth factor 1


Hepatocyte growth factor


Stromal cell-derived factor-1


Vascular endothelial growth factor


Transforming growth factor beta


Bone morphogenetic protein



This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (No: 81070125 and 81270213), Science and Technology Foundation in Guangdong Province (No: 2010B031600032) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (09ykpy07).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no potential conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jingying Hou
    • 1
  • Lingyun Wang
    • 2
  • Jieyu Jiang
    • 1
  • Changqing Zhou
    • 1
  • Tianzhu Guo
    • 1
  • Shaoxin Zheng
    • 3
  • Tong Wang
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of EmergencyThe Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital of Sun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of GastroenterologyThe Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital of Sun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina
  3. 3.Department of CardiologyThe Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital of Sun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina
  4. 4.Center for Stem Cell Biology and Tissue Engineering, Ministry of EducationSun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina

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