Adipose-derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells and Their Reparative Potential in Ischemic Heart Disease

Adipose tissue has long been considered an energy storage and endocrine organ; however, in recent decades, this tissue has also been considered an abundant source of mesenchymal cells. Adipose-derived stem cells are easily obtained, show a strong capacity for ex vivo expansion and differentiation to other cell types, release a large variety of angiogenic factors, and have immunomodulatory properties. Thus, adipose tissue is currently the focus of considerable interest in the field of regenerative medicine. In the context of coronary heart disease, numerous experimental studies have supported the safety and efficacy of adipose-derived stem cells in the setting of myocardial infarction. These results have encouraged the clinical use of these stem cells, possibly prematurely. Indeed, the presence of cardiovascular risk factors, such as hypertension, coronary disease, diabetes mellitus, and obesity, alter and reduce the functionality of adipose-derived stem cells, putting in doubt the efficacy of their autologous implantation. In the present article, white adipose tissue is described, the stem cells found in this tissue are characterized, and the use of these cells is discussed according to the preclinical and clinical trials performed so far.

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