Optimizing stem cell function for the treatment of ischemic heart disease

Jeremy L. Herrmann, Aaron M. Abarbanell, Brent R. Weil, Mariuxi C. Manukyan, Jeffrey A. Poynter, Benjamin J. Brewster, Yue Wang, Daniel R. Meldrum

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Background: Stem cell-based therapies for myocardial ischemia have demonstrated promising early clinical results, but their benefits have been limited in duration due to impaired donor cell engraftment and function. Several strategies have emerged for enhancing stem cell function prior to their therapeutic use particularly with regard to stem cell homing, paracrine function, and survival. This review discusses current understandings of stem cell-mediated cardioprotection as well as methods of enhancing post-transplantation stem cell function and survival through hypoxic preconditioning, genetic manipulation, and pharmacologic pretreatment. Materials and Methods: A literature search was performed using the MEDLINE and PubMed databases using the keywords "stem cell therapy," "myocardial ischemia," "hypoxic preconditioning," "paracrine function," and "stem cell pretreatment." Studies published in English since January 1990 were selected. In addition, studies were identified from references cited in publications found using the search terms. Results: All included studies utilized animal studies and/or in vitro techniques. Stem cell modifications generally targeted stem cell homing (SDF-1, CXCR4), paracrine function (VEGF, angiogenin, Ang-1, HGF, IL-18 binding protein, TNFR1/2), or survival (Akt, Bcl-2, Hsp20, HO-1, FGF-2). However, individual modifications commonly exhibited pleiotropic effects involving some or all of these general categories. Conclusion: These strategies for optimizing stem cell-mediated cardioprotection present unique potential sets of advantages and disadvantages for clinical application. Additional questions remain including those that are most efficacious in terms of magnitude and duration of benefit as well as whether combinations may yield greater benefits in both the preclinical and clinical settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-145
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • hypoxic preconditioning
  • myocardial ischemia
  • paracrine signaling
  • stem cell survival
  • stem cell therapy


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