Abstract

One great achievement in medical practice is the reduction in acute mortality of myocardial infarction due to identifying risk factors, antiplatelet therapy, optimized hospitalization and acute percutaneous coronary intervention. Yet, the prevalence of heart failure is increasing presenting a major socio-economic burden. Thus, there is a great need for novel therapies that can reverse damage inflicted to the heart. In recent years, data have accumulated suggesting that induction of cardiomyocyte proliferation might be a future option for cardiac regeneration. Here, we review the relevant literature since September 2015 concluding that it remains a challenge to verify that a therapy induces indeed cardiomyocyte proliferation. Most importantly, it is unclear that the detected increase in cardiomyocyte cell cycle activity is required for an associated improved function. In addition, we review the literature regarding the evidence that binucleated and polyploid mononucleated cardiomyocytes can divide, and put this in context to other cell types. Our analysis shows that there is significant evidence that binucleated cardiomyocytes can divide. Yet, it remains elusive whether also polyploid mononucleated cardiomyocytes can divide, how efficient proliferation of binucleated cardiomyocytes can be induced, what mechanism regulates cell cycle progression in these cells, and what fate and physiological properties the daughter cells have. In summary, we propose to standardize and independently validate cardiac regeneration studies, encourage the field to study the proliferative potential of binucleated and polyploid mononucleated cardiomyocytes, and to determine whether induction of polyploidization can enhance cardiac function post-injury.

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