C-kit+ cells: The tell-tale heart of cardiac regeneration?

Patrizia Nigro, Gianluca Lorenzo Perrucci, Aoife Gowran, Marco Zanobini, Maurizio C. Capogrossi, Giulio Pompilio

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the developed world. Although ongoing therapeutic strategies ameliorate symptoms and prolong life for patients with cardiovascular diseases, they do not solve the critical issue related to the loss of cardiac tissue. Accordingly, stem/progenitor cell therapy has emerged as a paramount approach for cardiac repair and regeneration. In this regard, c-kit+ cells have animated much interest and controversy. These cells are self-renewing, clonogenic, and multipotent and display a noteworthy potential to differentiate into all cardiovascular lineages. However, their functional contribution to cardiomyocyte turnover is one of the centrally debated issues concerning their regenerative potential. Regardless, plentiful preclinical and clinical studies have been conducted which provide evidence for the capacity of c-kit+ cells to improve cardiac function. The purpose of this review is to give a comprehensive, impartial, critical description and evaluation of the literature on c-kit+ cells from bench to bedside in order to address their true potential, benefits and controversies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1725-1740
Number of pages16
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • c-kit cells
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cell therapy
  • Myocardial regeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology

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