Recent advances in cardiovascular regenerative medicine: the induced pluripotent stem cell era

Shinsuke Yuasa, Keiichi Fukuda
Expert Review of Cardiovascular Therapy 2008, 6 (6): 803-10
Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells have recently been established by transfecting mouse and human fibroblasts with the transcription factors Oct3/4, Sox2, Klf4 and c-Myc, known to be expressed at high levels in embryonic stem (ES) cells. These cells have great potential in regenerative medicine as they have the capacity to differentiate into all three germ layer-derived cells and are syngeneic. The differentiation of ES cells into cardiomyocytes mimics the early processes involved in heart development. Recent studies describe the contribution of various growth factors and corresponding inhibitors to heart development during embryogenesis. Bone morphogenetic proteins, Wnt protein and Notch signals play critical roles in heart development in a context- and time-dependent manner. Consistent with ES cells, the exposure of iPS cells to such growth factors is hypothesized to augment differentiation into cardiomyocytes. The combination of iPS cells and appropriate developmental signal information has the potential for providing the foundations for future regenerative medicine.

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