Cardiomyocyte proliferation in cardiac development and regeneration: a guide to methodologies and interpretations

American Journal of Physiology. Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Marina LeoneFelix B Engel


The newt and the zebrafish have the ability to regenerate many of their tissues and organs including the heart. Thus, a major goal in experimental medicine is to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying the regenerative capacity of these species. A wide variety of experiments have demonstrated that naturally occurring heart regeneration relies on cardiomyocyte proliferation. Thus, major efforts have been invested to induce proliferation of mammalian cardiomyocytes in order to improve cardiac function after injury or to protect the heart from further functional deterioration. In this review, we describe and analyze methods currently used to evaluate cardiomyocyte proliferation. In addition, we summarize the literature on naturally occurring heart regeneration. Our analysis highlights that newt and zebrafish heart regeneration relies on factors that are also utilized in cardiomyocyte proliferation during mammalian fetal development. Most of these factors have, however, failed to induce adult mammalian cardiomyocyte proliferation. Finally, our analysis of mammalian neonatal heart regeneration indicates experiments that could resolve conflicting results in the literature, such as binucleation assays and clonal analysis. Collec...Continue Reading


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