Indexed on: 01 May '08Published on: 01 May '08Published in: Current cardiology reviews
Despite of vast improvements in treatment, myocardial infarction often leads to heart failure (HF) which remains the leading cause of death in developed countries. Other than heart transplantation, therapeutic options have a limited role in improving out comes in patients with severe HF. It is therefore no surprise that cardiac cell therapy has raised many hopes as a novel therapeutic approach aimed at cardiac myocyte replacement/regeneration termed "cellular cardiomyoplasty". However, the ideal source, cell type, critical cell number, and mode of application for optimal therapeutic effect have not been defined thus far. Recent observations of the beneficial effect of cell transplantation in animal experiments have generated tremendous excitement and stimulated clinical studies suggesting that this approach is feasible, safe, and potentially effective in humans. Cell-based myocardial regeneration is currently being explored for a wide range of cardiac disease states, including acute and chronic ischemic myocardial damage, cardiomyopathy and as biological heart pacemakers. The main purpose of this article is to review recent literature on the use of various cells for the examination of their in vitro cardiogenic potential and their in vivo capacity to engraft and improve the functional properties of the infarcted heart.