Multimodal Regulation of Cardiac Myocyte Proliferation

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Efficient cardiac regeneration is closely associated with the ability of cardiac myocytes to proliferate. Fetal or neonatal mouse hearts containing proliferating cardiac myocytes regenerate even extensive injuries, whereas adult hearts containing mostly post-mitotic cardiac myocytes have lost this ability. The same correlation is seen in some homoiotherm species such as teleost fish and urodelian amphibians leading to the hypothesis that cardiac myocyte proliferation is a major driver of heart regeneration. Although cardiomyocyte proliferation might not be the only prerequisite to restore full organ function after cardiac damage, induction of cardiac myocyte proliferation is an attractive therapeutic option to cure the injured heart and prevent heart failure. To (re)initiate cardiac myocyte proliferation in adult mammalian hearts, a thorough understanding of the molecular circuitry governing cardiac myocyte cell cycle regulation is required. Here, we review the current knowledge in the field focusing on the withdrawal of cardiac myocytes from the cell cycle during the transition from neonatal to adult stages.

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