Thymosin β4: multiple functions in protection, repair and regeneration of the mammalian heart.
Bollini S., Riley PR., Smart N.
INTRODUCTION: Despite recent improvements in interventional medicine, cardiovascular disease still represents the major cause of morbidity worldwide, with myocardial infarction being the most common cardiac injury. This has sustained the development of several regenerative strategies based on the use of stem cells and tissue engineering approaches in order to achieve cardiac repair and regeneration by enhancing coronary neovascularization, modulating acute inflammation and supporting myocardial regeneration to provide new functional muscle. AREAS COVERED: The actin monomer binding peptide, Thymosin β4 (Tβ4), has recently been described as a powerful regenerative agent with angiogenic, anti-inflammatory and cardioprotective effects on the heart and which specifically acts on its resident cardiac progenitor cells. In this review we will discuss the state of the art regarding the many roles of Tβ4 in preserving and regenerating the mammalian heart, with specific attention to its ability to activate the quiescent adult epicardium and specific subsets of epicardial progenitor cells for repair. EXPERT OPINION: The therapeutic potential of Tβ4 for the treatment of cardiac failure is herein evaluated alongside existing, emerging and prospective novel treatments.