Cardiac development is characterized by the active proliferation of different cardiac cell types, in particular cardiomyocytes and endothelial cells, that eventually build the beating heart. In mammals, these cells lose their regenerative potential early after birth, representing a major obstacle to our current capacity to restore the myocardial structure and function after an injury. Increasing evidence indicates that the cardiac extracellular matrix (ECM) actively regulates and orchestrates the proliferation, differentiation, and migration of cardiac cells within the heart, and that any change in either the composition of the ECM or its mechanical properties ultimately affect the behavior of these cells throughout one's life. Thus, understanding the role of ECMs' proteins and related signaling pathways on cardiac cell proliferation is essential to develop effective strategies fostering the regeneration of a damaged heart. This review provides an overview of the components of the ECM and its mechanical properties, whose function in cardiac regeneration has been elucidated, with a major focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the experimental models so far exploited to demonstrate the actual pro-regenerative capacity of the components of the ECM and to translate this knowledge into new therapies.
Reference: Extracellular Matrix-Based Approaches in Cardiac Regeneration: Challenges and Opportunities. Vu TVA, Lorizio D, Vuerich R, Lippi M, Nascimento DS, Zacchigna S. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Dec 13;23(24):15783.