The study of heart repair post-myocardial infarction has historically focused on the importance of cardiomyocyte proliferation as the major factor limiting adult mammalian heart regeneration. However, there is mounting evidence that a narrow focus on this one cell type discounts the importance of a complex cascade of cell-cell communication involving a whole host of different cell types. A major difficulty in the study of heart regeneration is the rarity of this process in adult animals, meaning a mammalian template for how this can be achieved is lacking. Here, we review the adult zebrafish as an ideal and unique model in which to study the underlying mechanisms and cell types required to attain complete heart regeneration following cardiac injury. We provide an introduction to the role of the cardiac microenvironment in the complex regenerative process and discuss some of the key advances using this in vivo vertebrate model that have recently increased our understanding of the vital roles of multiple different cell types. Due to the sheer number of exciting studies describing new and unexpected roles for inflammatory cell populations in cardiac regeneration, this review will pay particular attention to these important microenvironment participants.
- immune cells
- heart regeneration