Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Heart failure is a major cause of death worldwide owing to the inability of the adult human heart to regenerate after a heart attack. However, many vertebrate species are capable of complete cardiac regeneration following injury. In this Review, we discuss the various model organisms of cardiac regeneration, and outline what they have taught us thus far about the cellular and molecular responses essential for optimal cardiac repair. We compare across different species, highlighting evolutionarily conserved mechanisms of regeneration and demonstrating the importance of developmental gene expression programmes, plasticity of the heart and the pathophysiological environment for the regenerative response. Additionally, we discuss how the findings from these studies have led to improvements in cardiac repair in preclinical models such as adult mice and pigs, and discuss the potential to translate these findings into therapeutic approaches for human patients following myocardial infarction.

Original publication




Journal article


Disease models & mechanisms

Publication Date





Burdon Sanderson Cardiac Science Centre, Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3PT, UK.