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Panminerva Medica 2008 March;50(1):31-9

lingua: Inglese

Cardioprotection and cardiac regeneration by mesenchymal stem cells

Schäfer R., Northoff H.

Insitute of Clinical and Experimental Transfusion Medicine University Hospital Tübingen, Germany


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) are promising candidates in the emerging field of regenerative medicine. MSC have been applied in numerous experimental and preclinical studies evaluating their therapeutical potential in various models of diseases. For cardiac applications, especially myocardial ischemia, MSC have been shown to provide an interesting therapeutical potential. However, to date the mechanisms of their beneficial effects on the cardiac tissue are only faintly elucidated. On the one hand we do not completely understand the biology of the MSC, on the other hand their interactions with the complex in vivo situation e. g. after myocardial infarction and the following remodeling processes are difficult to study. Initially, with respect to their in vitro differentiation capacity, it has been assumed that transplanted MSC may, promoted by the local microenvironment, differentiate in vivo into cells of cardiomyogenic phenotype or even cardiomyocytes, integrate themselves into the myocardium and help to regenerate the damaged tissue. The finding that after transplantation only a minor percentage of the MSC showed long term survival and persistent lack of evidence for in vivo differentiation make the original mechanistic concept of in vivo cardiomyogenic differentiation questionable. More recent studies suggest that the transplanted MSC may interact with the local tissue releasing paracrine factors and may hereby support the regenerative process. In this article, referring to experimental and preclinical studies, characteristics, sources, differentiation and paracrine activity of MSC contributing to cardioprotection and cardiac regeneration will be discussed.

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