Cardiac progenitors and the embryonic cell cycle.
Despite the critical importance of proper cell cycle regulation in establishing the correct morphology of organs and tissues during development, relatively little is known about how cell proliferation is regulated in a tissue-specific manner. The control of cell proliferation within the developing heart is of considerable interest, given the high prevalence of congenital cardiac abnormalities among humans, and recent interest in the isolation of cardiac progenitor populations. We therefore review studies exploring the contribution of cell proliferation to overall cardiac morphology and the molecular mechanisms regulating this process. In addition, we also review recent studies that have identified progenitor cell populations within the adult myocardium, as well as those exploring the capability of differentiated myocardial cells to proliferate post-natally. Thus, the exploration of cardiomyocyte cell cycle regulation, both during development as well as in the adult heart, promises to yield many exciting and important discoveries over the coming years.
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