Bergmann O, Zdunek S, Felker A, Salehpour M, Alkass K, Bernard S, Sjostrom SL, Szewczykowska M, Jackowska T, Dos Remedios C, Malm T, Andrä M, Jashari R, Nyengaard JR, Possnert G, Jovinge S, Druid H, Frisén J
Cell 161 (7) 1566-1575 [2015-06-18; online 2015-06-16]
The contribution of cell generation to physiological heart growth and maintenance in humans has been difficult to establish and has remained controversial. We report that the full complement of cardiomyocytes is established perinataly and remains stable over the human lifespan, whereas the numbers of both endothelial and mesenchymal cells increase substantially from birth to early adulthood. Analysis of the integration of nuclear bomb test-derived (14)C revealed a high turnover rate of endothelial cells throughout life (>15% per year) and more limited renewal of mesenchymal cells (<4% per year in adulthood). Cardiomyocyte exchange is highest in early childhood and decreases gradually throughout life to <1% per year in adulthood, with similar turnover rates in the major subdivisions of the myocardium. We provide an integrated model of cell generation and turnover in the human heart.