Autophagy--a key player in cellular and body metabolism

Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2014 Jun;10(6):322-37. doi: 10.1038/nrendo.2014.35. Epub 2014 Mar 25.


Knowledge gained over the past 10 years about the mechanisms that underpin autophagy has provided a universal framework for studies of diverse physiological and pathological processes. Of particular interest is the emerging role of autophagy in the maintenance of energy homeostasis, both at the cellular level and within the organism as a whole. Dysregulation of autophagy might contribute to the development of metabolic disorders, including insulin resistance, diabetes mellitus, obesity, atherosclerosis and osteoporosis. The authors of this Review highlight research findings on the regulation of cellular autophagy by nutrients. They also describe the role of autophagy in various tissues in the regulation of energy metabolism and the development of diseases related to altered metabolism. Finally, the potential of pharmacological modulation of autophagy as a treatment for human metabolic disorders is discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autophagy / drug effects
  • Autophagy / physiology*
  • Cells / metabolism
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Metabolic Diseases / drug therapy
  • Metabolic Diseases / physiopathology
  • Metabolism / physiology*