The heart is a highly plastic organ. In response to the physiological stress of normal life, as well as the pathological stress of disease, the myocardium manifests robust and rapid changes in mass. In the context of disease-associated stress, this myocardial remodeling response can culminate in ventricular thinning, mechanical dysfunction, and a clinical syndrome of heart failure. Recently, autophagy, a process of cellular cannibalization, has been implicated in many of these remodeling reactions. In some settings, the autophagic response is beneficial and pro-survival; in other contexts, it is maladaptive and promotes disease progression. Together, these observations raise the intriguing prospect of targeting maladaptive autophagy and advancing cell survival-promoting, adaptive autophagy to benefit patients with heart disease.
- Heart failure
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine