With cardiovascular diseases affecting millions of patients, new treatment strategies are urgently needed. The use of stem cell based approaches has been investigated during the last decades and promising effects have been achieved. However, the beneficial effect of stem cells has been found to being partly due to paracrine functions by alterations of their microenvironment and so an interesting field of research, the “stem- less” approaches has emerged over the last years using or altering the microenvironment, for example, via deletion of senescent cells, application of micro RNAs or by modifying the cellular energy metabolism via targeting mitochondria. Using autologous muscle-derived mitochondria for transplantations into the affected tissues has resulted in promising reports of improvements of cardiac functions in vitro and in vivo. However, since the targeted treatment group represents mainly elderly or otherwise sick patients, it is unclear whether and to what extent autologous mitochondria would exert their beneficial effects in these cases. Stem cells might represent better sources for mitochondria and could enhance the effect of mitochondrial transplantations. Therefore in this review we aim to provide an overview on aging effects of stem cells and mitochondria which might be important for mitochondrial transplantation and to give an overview on the current state in this field together with considerations worthwhile for further investigations.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited