Adult Stem Cells, Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells, Regenerative Medicine, Cell Biology


Biology | Cell and Developmental Biology


Dr. David L. Geenen


Ischemic heart disease remains a major cause of death and disability worldwide (Moran Andrew E. et al., 2014). While interventions for heart disease have come a long way, restoring functionality to damaged myocardium remains a challenge. Both mechanical and electrical repair of the host myocardium are essential to salvage the damaged tissue. This is especially difficult following a myocardial infarction (MI) as the infarct area is subject to quick and extensive cell death via necrosis then apoptosis (Prabhu & Frangogiannis, 2016). Stem cells have emerged as a candidate for potential replacement therapies. Adult stem cells (ASCs) are taken from bone marrow or adipose tissue. Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs) are cells that have been reverse engineered into a pluripotent state. Both ASCs and iPSCs have proven preclinical usefulness in treating heart disease (Gao et al., 2007; Guo et al., 2020). It is theorized that ASCs act primarily through paracrine signaling while iPSCs may have a greater capacity to differentiate into cardiac myocytes (CMs) in vivo (Guo et al., 2020). Additionally, iPSCs can differentiate into CMs (iPSC-CMs) in vitro, making them a useful cellular model for heart disease (Karakikes et al., 2015; Smith et al., 2017). This profile will highlight the uses of iPSCs as they pertain to modeling and treating MI. Attention will be paid to stem coupling, electrophysiology, and experimental designs that investigate the role of gap junctions in stem cell therapies.