Mechanism and medical implications of mammalian autophagy

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2018 Jun;19(6):349-364. doi: 10.1038/s41580-018-0003-4.


Autophagy is a highly conserved catabolic process induced under various conditions of cellular stress, which prevents cell damage and promotes survival in the event of energy or nutrient shortage and responds to various cytotoxic insults. Thus, autophagy has primarily cytoprotective functions and needs to be tightly regulated to respond correctly to the different stimuli that cells experience, thereby conferring adaptation to the ever-changing environment. It is now apparent that autophagy is deregulated in the context of various human pathologies, including cancer and neurodegeneration, and its modulation has considerable potential as a therapeutic approach.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autophagy / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Mammals / physiology*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / pathology