Stem cell-based approaches in cardiac tissue engineering: controlling the microenvironment for autologous cells
Khalaf, Israa Magdi
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Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of mortality worldwide. Cardiac tissue engineering strategies focusing on biomaterial scaffolds incorporating cells and growth factors are emerging as highly promising for cardiac repair and regeneration. The use of stem cells within cardiac microengineered tissue constructs present an inherent ability to differentiate into cell types of the human heart. Stem cells derived from various tissues including bone marrow, dental pulp, adipose tissue and umbilical cord can be used for this purpose. Approaches ranging from stem cell injections, stem cell spheroids, cell encapsulation in a suitable hydrogel, use of prefabricated scaffold and bioprinting technology are at the forefront in the field of cardiac tissue engineering. The stem cell microenvironment plays a key role in the maintenance of stemness and/or differentiation into cardiac specific lineages. This review provides a detailed overview of the recent advances in microengineering of autologous stem cell-based tissue engineering platforms for the repair of damaged cardiac tissue. A particular emphasis is given to the roles played by the extracellular matrix (ECM) in regulating the physiological response of stem cells within cardiac tissue engineering platforms.