The role of autophagy in the heart

K. Nishida, S. Kyoi, O. Yamaguchi, J. Sadoshima, K. Otsu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

322 Scopus citations


Autophagy has evolved as a conserving process that uses bulk degradation and recycling of cytoplasmic components, such as long-lived proteins and organelles. In the heart, autophagy is important for the turnover of organelles at low basal levels under normal conditions and it is upregulated in response to stresses such as ischemia/reperfusion and in cardiovascular diseases such as heart failure. Cardiac remodeling involves increased rates of cardiomyocyte cell death and precedes heart failure. The simultaneously occurring multiple features of failing hearts include not only apoptosis and necrosis but also autophagy as well. However, it has been unclear as to whether autophagy is a sign of failed cardiomyocyte repair or is a suicide pathway for failing cardiomyocytes. The functional role of autophagy during ischemia/ reperfusion in the heart is complex. It has also been unclear whether autophagy is protective or detrimental in response to ischemia/ reperfusion in the heart. In this review, we will summarize the role of autophagy in the heart under both normal conditions and in response to stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-38
Number of pages8
JournalCell Death and Differentiation
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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