Cardiac progenitor cells are multipotent stem cells isolated from both embryonic and adult hearts in several species and are able to differentiate at least into smooth muscle cells, endothelial cells and cardiomyocytes. The embryonic origin of these cells has not yet been demonstrated, but it has been suggested that these cells may derive from the first and secondary heart fields and from the neural crest. In the last decade, two diffe-rent populations of cardiac progenitor or stem cells have been identified and isolated, i.e., the Islet1 positive (Isl1+) and c-Kit positive (c-Kit+)/Stem Cell Antigen-1 positive (Sca-1+) cells. Until 2012, these two populations have been considered two separate entities with different roles and a different origin, but new evidence now suggests a con-nection between the two populations and that the two populations may represent two subpopulations of a unique pool of cardiac stem cells, derived from a common immature primitive cell. To find a common consensus on this concept is very important in furthe-ring the application of stem cells to cardiac tissue engineering.
cardiac progenitor cells, stem cells, heart, lineages, biology, muscle.