Post-ischemic heart failure is becoming a major issue for public health in occidental countries and therapeutical options are limited. Therefore cell transplantation was developed as an alternative strategy to improve cardiac structure and function. This review describes the multiple cell types and clinical trials considered for use in this indication. The transplantation of fetal or neonatal cardiomyocytes has proven to be functionally successful, but ethical as well as technical reasons make their clinical use limited. Recent reports, however, suggested that adult autologous cardiomyocytes could be prepared from stem cells present in various mesenchymal tissues. Alternatively, endothelial progenitors originating from bone marrow or peripheral blood could promote the neoangiogenesis within the scar tissue. Finally. the transplantation of skeletal muscle cells (SMC) in the infarcted area improved myocardial function, in correlation with the development of skeletal muscle tissue in various animal models. The latter results paved the way for the development of a first phase I clinical trial of SMC transplantation in patients with severe ischemic heart failure. It required the scale-up of human cell production according to Good Manufacturing Procedures, it started in June 2000 in Paris and was terminated in November 2001, and it was followed by several others. The results were encouraging and prompted the onset of a blinded, multicentric phase II clinical trial for SMC transplantation. Meanwhile, clinical trials also evalutate the safety and efficacy of various cells types originating from the bone marrow.