Induced pluripotent stem cells as a new strategy for cardiac regeneration and disease modeling
The possibility to induce pluripotency in somatic cells or, even further, to induce cell transdifferentiation through the forced expression of reprogramming factors has offered new, attractive options for cardiovascular regenerative medicine. In fact, recent discoveries have demonstrated that induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells can be differentiated into cardiomyocytes, suggesting that iPS cells have the potential to significantly advance future cardiac regenerative therapies. Herein, we provide an overview of the characteristics and differentiation potential associated with iPS cells. In addition, we discuss current methods for inducing their specification towards a cardiovascular phenotype as well as in vivo evidence supporting the therapeutic benefit of iPS-derived cardiac cells. Finally, we describe recent findings regarding the use of iPS-derived cells for modeling several genetic cardiac disorders, which have indicated that these pluripotent cells represent an ideal tool for drug testing and might contribute to the development of future personalized regenerative cell therapies. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.