Lichan Tao, Hui Wang, Xiuzhi Wang, Xiangqing Kong and Xinli Li Pages 404 - 409 ( 6 )
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.
Cellular junction, progenitor/stem cells, repair, regeneration, telocytes.
Department of Cardiology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, 300 Guangzhou Road, Nanjing 210029, China.