The heart is a pump that is comprised of cardiac myocytes and other cell types and whose proper function is critical to quality of life. The ability to trigger regeneration of heart muscle following injury eludes adult mammals, a deficiency of great clinical impact. Major research efforts are attempting to change this through advances in cell therapy or activating endogenous regenerative mechanisms that exist only early in life. In contrast with mammals, lower vertebrates like zebrafish demonstrate an impressive natural capacity for cardiac regeneration throughout life. This review will cover recent progress in the field of heart regeneration with a focus on endogenous regenerative capacity and its potential manipulation.
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