Return of the Tbx5; lineage-tracing reveals ventricular cardiomyocyte-like precursors in the injured adult mammalian heart

Panagiota Siatra, Giannis Vatsellas, Athanasia Chatzianastasiou, Evangelos Balafas, Theodora Manolakou, Andreas Papapetropoulos, Anna Agapaki, Eleni Taxiarchia Mouchtouri, Prashant J. Ruchaya, Artemis G. Korovesi, Manolis Mavroidis, Dimitrios Thanos, Dimitris Beis, Ioannis Kokkinopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The single curative measure for heart failure patients is a heart transplantation, which is limited due to a shortage of donors, the need for immunosuppression and economic costs. Therefore, there is an urgent unmet need for identifying cell populations capable of cardiac regeneration that we will be able to trace and monitor. Injury to the adult mammalian cardiac muscle, often leads to a heart attack through the irreversible loss of a large number of cardiomyocytes, due to an idle regenerative capability. Recent reports in zebrafish indicate that Tbx5a is a vital transcription factor for cardiomyocyte regeneration. Preclinical data underscore the cardioprotective role of Tbx5 upon heart failure. Data from our earlier murine developmental studies have identified a prominent unipotent Tbx5-expressing embryonic cardiac precursor cell population able to form cardiomyocytes, in vivo, in vitro and ex vivo. Using a developmental approach to an adult heart injury model and by employing a lineage-tracing mouse model as well as the use of single-cell RNA-seq technology, we identify a Tbx5-expressing ventricular cardiomyocyte-like precursor population, in the injured adult mammalian heart. The transcriptional profile of that precursor cell population is closer to that of neonatal than embryonic cardiomyocyte precursors. Tbx5, a cardinal cardiac development transcription factor, lies in the center of a ventricular adult precursor cell population, which seems to be affected by neurohormonal spatiotemporal cues. The identification of a Tbx5-specific cardiomyocyte precursor-like cell population, which is capable of dedifferentiating and potentially deploying a cardiomyocyte regenerative program, provides a clear target cell population for translationally-relevant heart interventional studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number13
Journalnpj Regenerative Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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