Autophagy: a druggable process that is deregulated in aging and human disease

J Clin Invest. 2015 Jan;125(1):1-4. doi: 10.1172/JCI78652. Epub 2015 Jan 2.


Autophagy ("self-eating") constitutes one of the most spectacular yet subtly regulated phenomena in cell biology. Similarly to cell division, differentiation, and death, autophagy is perturbed in multiple diseases, in that excessive or deficient autophagy may contribute to pathogenesis. Numerous attempts have been launched to identify specific inducers or inhibitors of autophagy and to use them for the therapeutic correction of its deregulation. At present, several major disease categories (including but not limited to age-related, cardiovascular, infectious, neoplastic, neurodegenerative, and metabolic pathologies) are being investigated for pathogenic aberrations in autophagy and their pharmacologic rectification. Driven by promising preclinical results, several clinical trials are exploring autophagy as a therapeutic target.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging*
  • Animals
  • Autophagy / drug effects*
  • Autophagy / genetics
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / pathology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / therapy
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / urine
  • Genetic Therapy
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / pathology
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / therapy