Autophagy refers to the process involving the decomposition of intracellular components via lysosomes. Autophagy plays an important role in maintaining and regulating cell homeostasis by degrading intracellular components and providing degradation products to cells. In vivo, autophagy has been shown to be involved in the starvation response, intracellular quality control, early development, and cell differentiation. Recent studies have revealed that autophagy dysfunction is implicated in neurodegenerative diseases and tumorigenesis. In addition to the discovery of certain disease-causing autophagy-related mutations and elucidation of the pathogenesis of conditions resulting from the abnormal degradation of selective autophagy substrates, the activation of autophagy is essential for prolonging life and suppressing aging. This article provides a comprehensive review of the role of autophagy in health, physiological function, and autophagy-related disease.
Keywords: autophagy; autophagy-related gene; cancer; cardiovascular; liver disease; mitophagy; neurodegenerative disease.