About this Research Topic
Repairing the heart after myocardial infarction (MI) is still one of the great challenges addressed by cardiovascular research. Initially, much effort has been put into the identification of a stem- or progenitor cell that could restore function and regenerate local tissue. It has become evident that many of the transplanted cell types exert their positive effects by acting on the local tissue. Cardioprotection, the induction of angiogenesis, the dampening of the fibrotic response, activation of resident (progenitor) cells such as the epicardium, and possibly the proliferation of local cardiomyocytes are all processes that, when properly regulated, could enhance the reparative response after MI.
Besides transplanting cells, there is increasing attention for the application of cardiac patches to restore cardiac function after injury, or the direct stimulation of endogenous cell types through e.g. small molecules or extracellular vesicles.
Our understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie repair in the injured heart has changed significantly over the last few years. The rise of novel techniques like single-cell sequencing provided insight into the cellular composition of the heart in healthy and diseased states. The possibility to perform small molecule screens resulted in the identification of compounds that for instance can induce cardiomyocyte proliferation or prevent fibrosis. Other studies have focused on the embryonic development or on regenerating species such as the zebrafish, to identify processes that may regulate cardiac repair. Finally, several off-the-shelf therapeutics like extracellular vesicles have shown great potential in stimulating many of the desired cell effects after damage. All these approaches have influenced our view on the endogenous repair capacity of the heart.
The goal of this topic is to highlight recent advances in cardiac repair and discuss their potential for future in vivo applications.
Reviews, short reviews and original data manuscripts are welcome covering:
• Novel insights into cardiac cellular composition or cell behavior post-injury
• Advances in cardiac therapeutics including, but not limited to, extracellular vesicles, cardiac patches, cell transplantation, miRNA regulation and small molecule approaches
• Model systems that increase our understanding of cardiac repair processes
Keywords: cardiac repair, ischemic injury, myocardial infarction, regeneration, therapeutic approaches
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