Direct Cardiac Reprogramming

  • Sho Haginiwa
  • Masaki IedaEmail author
Part of the Cardiac and Vascular Biology book series (Abbreviated title: Card. vasc. biol., volume 4)


Recent advances in medical treatment and the development of new mechanical devices have greatly improved the prognosis for heart disease patients. However, heart disease, particularly heart failure, is still a major health issue with continuously increasing numbers of affected patients. Because adult heart muscle has a low regenerative capacity, cardiac function declines with age after cardiac injury. A potential approach to solve this problem is regenerative medicine, aiming at the remuscularization of damaged hearts. Studies conducted in small animals and humans revealed that transplanting various types of cells into failing hearts resulted in the repair of injured hearts and improved cardiac function, but the effects were modest, and further improvement is needed before the method can be widely applied in the clinic. Moreover, true muscle regeneration or cardiac differentiation from so far clinically tested adult stem cells seems to be a rare event, and the beneficial effects of these cell-based therapies are likely due to paracrine factors secreted by the transplanted cells. To regenerate cardiac muscle, it is important to first understand the mechanism of cardiac cell fate determination. Several groups including ours recently found that somatic cells can be directly reprogrammed into cardiomyocyte-like cells using combinations of master regulators. The cardiac reprogramming approach is applicable not only in vitro but also in vivo. It can repair injured hearts and improve cardiac function. Thus, this new technology may open an avenue for regenerative therapy for heart disease.



M.I. was supported by research grants from JST CREST, AMED PRIME, JSPS, Keio University Program for the Advancement of Next Generation Research Projects, Banyu Life Science, Senshin Medical Research Foundation, and Takeda Science Foundation.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of CardiologyKeio University School of MedicineTokyoJapan
  2. 2.AMED, PRIMETokyoJapan

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