Background There is mounting evidence to suggest that the heart has regenerative potential in the event of myocardial injury. Recent studies have shown that a resident population of cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs) in the heart contains both vasculogenic and myogenic lineages. CPCs are able to migrate to the site of injury in the heart for participation in the healing process. The resident CPCs in the heart may also be activated through outside pharmacological intervention to promote their participation in the intrinsic repair process. In the light of these characteristics, CPCs provide a logical source for the heart cell therapy. During the regenerative cardiac process, stem cell niches (a specialised environment surrounding stem cells) provide crucial support needed for their maintenance.
Discussion Compromised niche function may lead to the selection of stem cells that no longer depend on self-renewal factors produced by its environment. The objective of stem cell transplantation associated with tissue-engineered approaches is to create a new modality in the treatment of heart failure. The use of efficient scaffolds will aid to re-establish a favourable microenvironment for stem cell survival, multiplication, differentiation and function. Cardiac tissue engineering using natural and/or synthetic materials in this regard provides a novel possibility in cardiovascular therapeutics.
- Cardiac progenitor cell
- cardiac repair
- tissue engineering
- tissue characters
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Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.
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