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Permanent fibrosis and chronic deterioration of heart function in patients after myocardial infarction present a major health-care burden worldwide. In contrast to the restricted potential for cellular and functional regeneration of the adult mammalian heart, a robust capacity for cardiac regeneration is seen during the neonatal period in mammals as well as in the adults of many fish and amphibian species. However, we lack a complete understanding as to why cardiac regeneration takes place more efficiently in some species than in others. The capacity of the heart to regenerate after injury is controlled by a complex network of cellular and molecular mechanisms that form a regulatory landscape, either permitting or restricting regeneration. In this Review, we provide an overview of the diverse array of vertebrates that have been studied for their cardiac regenerative potential and discuss differential heart regeneration outcomes in closely related species. Additionally, we summarize current knowledge about the core mechanisms that regulate cardiac regeneration across vertebrate species.

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Journal article


Nat Rev Cardiol

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