Telocytes (TCs), are a specific type of stromal cells, with a characteristic appearance including
a small cell body and very long and thin telopodes. TCs have been reportedly identified in almost
all human organs and tissues, including heart, pulmonary veins, and intestine. Cardiac TCs are
widely distributed in the endocardium, epicardium, myocardium, and even stem cell niches. In physiological
conditions, TCs form a three-dimensional architecture through homocellular and heterocellular
interactions and stimulate the growth and differentiation of cardiac progenitor/stem cells during organogenesis.
In pathological conditions, TCs improve cardiac function by contributing to cardiomyocyte
renewal, enhancing angiogenesis, and decreasing cardiac fibrosis. Our understanding suggests these cells could lead to their
use a source of cellular therapy to enhance repair of damaged myocardium. This review summarizes recent progress on the
potential biological function of TCs in cardiac physiology and disease. Although TCs have beneficial effects towards cardiac
injury, the molecular mechanisms whereby these effects are accomplished remain unclear. Additional in vivo functional studies
on TCs will help improve our understanding of the mechanism by which TCs contribute to cardiac repair.