Cardiomyopathies are still the first cause of death in the world. The identification of resident stem cells, comprising
those derived from sub-endocardial stroma, suggests the possible self regeneration of the heart under
autocrine/paracrine modulation in the cardiac microenvironment. Nevertheless, because of the limited in vivo regeneration
potential of damaged cardiac tissue, the use of drugs and ultimately cardiac transplantation remain the common treatments
of heart diseases and defects. The differentiative potential of embryonic and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) derived
from different tissues (such as bone marrow and adipose tissue) was extensively explored in cell therapy for regenerative
medicine. Many groups have been focused, in recent years, on isolation, characterization, and differentiation potential of
MSCs derived from perinatal (or extraembryonic) tissues, mainly the placenta and the human umbilical cord. In this review,
we summarized recent works about the stemness of Wharton’s jelly stromal cells and their potential in cardiac regeneration
with favourable use in cell therapy and regenerative medicine. The peculiar features of these cells, as the expression
of cardiac-specific transcription factors and immunomodulatory molecules suggest that human umbilical cord
may be considered as a reliable alternative source of MSC useful for advanced therapy in cardiac regenerative medicine.
Keywords: Heart failure, mesenchymal stem cells, regenerative medicine, Wharton’s jelly, immune modulation, tissue repair, CARDIAC REGENERATION, HUMAN UMBILICAL CORD.
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