Use of Embryonic Stem Cells to Treat Heart Disease

Joshua D. Dowell, Michael Rubart-von der Lohe, Loren Field, Robert Zweigerdt

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Transplanted donor cells can form a functional syncytium with the host myocardium. Embryonic stem (ES) cells can differentiate into functional cardiomyocytes in vitro and that these ES cell-derived cardiomyocytes form stable intracardiac grafts when transplanted into the myocardium. ES cells might, thus be a suitable source of donor cardiomyocytes for cell transplantation therapies aimed at restoring lost myocardial mass in diseased hearts. Donor cardiomyocyte are stable following transplantation into normal or injured recipient hearts; furthermore, they are capable of forming a functional syncytium with the host myocardium. Highly differentiated cardiomyocytes could be derived from ES cells and these cells could be transplanted into recipient hearts. A major limitation of current cardiomyocyte transplantation protocols is the relatively low levels of donor cell seeding in the host myocardium. Issues associated with the use of allogeneic donor cells constitute an additional potential hurdle for widespread application of ES cell-derived cardiomyocyte transplantation. The potential use of cellular transplantation for the treatment of heart disease is gaining greater acceptance. Additional research is required to determine if it is possible to seed sufficient numbers of donor cells to directly affect cardiac function and to develop viable strategies to prevent donor cell rejection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Stem Cells
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9780080533735, 9780124366435
StatePublished - Sep 14 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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  • Cite this

    Dowell, J. D., Rubart-von der Lohe, M., Field, L., & Zweigerdt, R. (2004). Use of Embryonic Stem Cells to Treat Heart Disease. In Handbook of Stem Cells (Vol. 1, pp. 713-722). Elsevier Inc..