Challenges to success in heart failure: Cardiac cell therapies in patients with heart diseases

Hidemasa Oh, Hiroshi Ito, Shunji Sano

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Heart failure remains the leading cause of death worldwide, and is a burgeoning problem in public health due to the limited capacity of postnatal hearts to self-renew. The pathophysiological changes in injured hearts can sometimes be manifested as scar formation or myocardial degradation, rather than supplemental muscle regeneration to replenish lost tissue during the healing processes. Stem cell therapies have been investigated as a possible treatment approach for children and adults with potentially fatal cardiovascular disease that does not respond to current medical therapies. Although the heart is one of the least regenerative organs in mammals, discoveries made during the past few decades have improved our understanding of cardiac development and resident stem/progenitor pools, which may be lineage-restricted subpopulations during the post-neonatal stage of cardiac morphogenesis. Recently, investigation has specifically focused on factors that activate either endogenous progenitor cells or preexisting cardiomyocytes, to regenerate cardiovascular cells and replace the damaged heart tissues. The discovery of induced pluripotent stem cells has advanced our technological capability to direct cardiac reprogramming by essential factors that are crucial for heart field completion in each stage. Cardiac tissue engineering technology has recently shown progress in generating myocardial tissue on human native cardiac extracellular matrix scaffolds. This review summarizes recent advances in the field of cardiac cell therapies with an emphasis on cellular mechanisms, such as bone marrow stem cells and cardiac progenitor cells, which show the high potential for success in preclinical and clinical meta-analysis studies. Expanding our current understanding of mechanisms of self-renewal in the neonatal mammalian heart may lead to the development of novel cardiovascular regenerative medicines for pediatric heart diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-367
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of cardiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2016


  • Cardiac progenitors
  • Cell therapy
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy
  • Myocardial infarction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Challenges to success in heart failure: Cardiac cell therapies in patients with heart diseases'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this