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Derivation and properties of human embryonic stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes

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The heart has relatively little regenerative capacity and hence any significant cell loss may lead to the development of heart failure. Cell therapy is emerging as a possible novel therapeutic approach for heart failure but is hampered by the paucity of cell sources for cardiomyocytes. Human embryonic stem (ES) cells are cell lines that were derived from the pre-implantation embryo and are capable of undifferentiated proliferation while retaining the capability to form derivatives of all three germ layers. The current review describes the properties of human ES cells and the derivation and properties of cardiomyocytes generated using this unique differentiating system. The possible applications in several research and clinical fields are described as well as the steps required to establish this tissue as a unique source for cell therapy procedures.


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