Cell therapy for ischaemic heart disease: Focus on the role of resident cardiac stem cells

S. A.J. Chamuleau, K. R. Vrijsen, D. G. Rokosh, X. L. Tang, J. J. Piek, R. Bolli

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Myocardial infarction results in loss of cardiomyocytes, scar formation, ventricular remodelling, and eventually heart failure. In recent years, cell therapy has emerged as a potential new strategy for patients with ischaemic heart disease. This includes embryonic and bone marrow derived stem cells. Recent clinical studies showed ostensibly conflicting results of intracoronary infusion of autologous bone marrow derived stem cells in patients with acute or chronic myocardial infarction. Anyway, these results have stimulated additional clinical and pre-clinical studies to further enhance the beneficial effects of stem cell therapy. Recently, the existence of cardiac stem cells that reside in the heart itself was demonstrated. Their discovery has sparked intense hope for myocardial regeneration with cells that are obtained from the heart itself and are thereby inherently programmed to reconstitute cardiac tissue. These cells can be detected by several surface markers (e.g. c-kit, Sca-1, MDR1, Isl-1). Both in vitro and in vivo differentiation into cardiomyocytes, endothelial cells and vascular smooth muscle cells has been demonstrated, and animal studies showed promising results on improvement of left ventricular function. This review will discuss current views regarding the feasibility of cardiac repair, and focus on the potential role of the resident cardiac stem and progenitor cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-207
Number of pages9
JournalNetherlands Heart Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2009


  • Cardiac stem cell
  • Ischaemic heart disease
  • Regeneration
  • Stem cell therapy


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