Ischemic heart disease remains the leading cause of mortality (12.7%) worldwide, causing more than 7 million deaths per year. Native angiogenesis after infarction most often is not sufficient for appropriate supply of hibernating cardiomyocytes, leading to pathologic left ventricle (LV) remodeling and ischemic cardiomyopathy, a clinical entity characterized by a poor prognosis and severe symptoms in affected patients. Management of this disease often is limited, and curative strategies beside heart transplantation are lacking. Therefore, therapies enhancing vascularization in the infarction zone by induction of capillary sprouting from existing vessels (angiogenesis) and/or by recruitment of bone marrow–derived endothelial cells (BMEC) for de novo vessel formation (vasculogenesis) are of high relevance.
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