Adult c-kitpos Cardiac Stem Cells Are Necessary and Sufficient for Functional Cardiac Regeneration and Repair

Georgina Ellison, Carla Vicinanza, Andrew Smith, Iolanda Aquila, Angelo Leone, Cheryl D Waring, Beverley J Henning, Giuliano Giuseppe Stirparo, Roberto Papait, Marzia Scarfo, Valter Agosti, Guiseppe Viglietto, Gianluigi Condorelli, Ciro Indolfi, Sergio Ottolenghi, Daniele Torella, Bernado Nadal-Ginard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

439 Citations (Scopus)


The epidemic of heart failure has stimulated interest in understanding cardiac regeneration. Evidence has been reported supporting regeneration via transplantation of multiple cell types, as well as replication of postmitotic cardiomyocytes. In addition, the adult myocardium harbors endogenous c-kitpos cardiac stem cells (eCSCs), whose relevance for regeneration is controversial. Here, using different rodent models of diffuse myocardial damage causing acute heart failure, we show that eCSCs restore cardiac function by regenerating lost cardiomyocytes. Ablation of the eCSC abolishes regeneration and functional recovery. The regenerative process is completely restored by replacing the ablated eCSCs with the progeny of one eCSC. eCSCs recovered from the host and recloned retain their regenerative potential in vivo and in vitro. After regeneration, selective suicide of these exogenous CSCs and their progeny abolishes regeneration, severely impairing ventricular performance. These data show that c-kitpos eCSCs are necessary and sufficient for the regeneration and repair of myocardial damage.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbern/a
Pages (from-to)827-842
Number of pages16
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2013


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