Cardiac Side Population Cells Moving Toward the Center Stage in Cardiac Regeneration

Cardiovascular Division, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
Circulation Research (Impact Factor: 11.02). 05/2012; 110(10):1355-63. DOI: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.111.243014
Source: PubMed


Over the past decade, extensive work in animal models and humans has identified the presence of adult cardiac progenitor cells, capable of cardiomyogenic differentiation and likely contributors to cardiomyocyte turnover during normal development and disease. Among cardiac progenitor cells, there is a distinct subpopulation, termed "side population" (SP) progenitor cells, identified by their unique ability to efflux DNA binding dyes through an ATP-binding cassette transporter. This review highlights the literature on the isolation, characterization, and functional relevance of cardiac SP cells. We review the initial discovery of cardiac SP cells in adult myocardium as well as their capacity for functional cardiomyogenic differentiation and role in cardiac regeneration after myocardial injury. Finally, we discuss recent advances in understanding the molecular regulators of cardiac SP cell proliferation and differentiation, as well as likely future areas of investigation required to realize the goal of effective cardiac regeneration.

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