Evidence for Cardiomyocyte Renewal in Humans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


It has been difficult to establish whether we are limited to the heart muscle cells we are born with or if cardiomyocytes are generated also later in life. We have taken advantage of the integration of carbon-14, generated by nuclear bomb tests during the Cold War, into DNA to establish the age of cardiomyocytes in humans. We report that cardiomyocytes renew, with a gradual decrease from 1% turning over annually at the age of 25 to 0.45% at the age of 75. Fewer than 50% of cardiomyocytes are exchanged during a normal life span. The capacity to generate cardiomyocytes in the adult human heart suggests that it may be rational to work toward the development of therapeutic strategies aimed at stimulating this process in cardiac pathologies.


  • Olaf Bergmann
  • Ratan D. Bhardwaj
  • Samuel Bernard
  • Sofia Zdunek
  • Fanie Barnabe-Heider
  • Stuart Walsh
  • Joel Zupicich
  • Kanar Alkass
  • Bruce A. Buchholz
  • Henrik Druid
  • Stefan Jovinge
  • Jonas Frisen
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cell and Molecular Biology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-102
Issue number5923
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Hematopoietic Stem Cell Laboratory (013022012)

Related research output

Walsh, S., 2010, Cardiovascular Laboratory, Center for Stem Cell Biology, Lund. 117 p.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)

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