During the last decade transplantation of cells into the heart has emerged as a novel therapy for the prevention and treatment of heart failure. Although various cell types have been used, most experience has been obtained with the progenitor cells of skeletal muscle, also called myoblasts, and a wide array of bone marrow-derived cell types. The first preclinical studies demonstrated an improvement in global and regional heart function that was attributed mainly to a direct contractile effect of the transplanted cells. Furthermore, it was suggested that multiple cell types are able to form true cardiomyocytes and truly 'regenerate' the myocardium. More recent studies have questioned these early findings. Other mechanisms such as paracrine effects on the infarct and remote myocardium, a reduction in adverse remodelling and improvement of mechanical properties of the infarct tissue likely play a more important role. On the basis of encouraging prechnical studies, multiple early-phase clinical trials and several randomised controlled trials have been conducted that have demonstrated the feasibility, safety and potential efficacy of this novel therapy in humans. This review summarises the available evidence on cardiac cell transplantation and provides an outlook on future preclinical and clinical research that has to fill in the remaining gaps.
|Number of pages||8|
|Publication status||Published - 2008|