Autophagy is an evolutionarily ancient process of intracellular catabolism necessary to preserve cellular homeostasis in response to a wide variety of stresses. In the case of post-mitotic cells, where cell replacement is not an option, finely tuned quality control of cytoplasmic constituents and organelles is especially critical. And due to the ubiquitous and critical role of autophagic flux in the maintenance of cell health, it comes as little surprise that perturbation of the autophagic process is observed in multiple disease processes. A large body of preclinical evidence suggests that autophagy is a double-edged sword in cardiovascular disease, acting in either beneficial or maladaptive ways, depending on the context. In light of this, the autophagic machinery in cardiomyocytes and other cardiovascular cell types has been proposed as a potential therapeutic target. Here, we summarize current knowledge regarding the dual functions of autophagy in cardiovascular disease. We go on to analyze recent evidence suggesting that titration of autophagic flux holds potential as a novel treatment strategy.
- Cardiac hypertrophy
- Heart failure
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine