Autophagic cell death: The story of a misnomer

Guido Kroemer, Beth Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

1208 Scopus citations


Dying cells often display a large-scale accumulation of autophagosomes and hence adopt a morphology called autophagic cell death. In many cases, it is agreed that this autophagic cell death is cell death with autophagy rather than cell death by autophagy. Here, we evaluate the accumulating body of literature that argues that cell death occurs by autophagy. We also list the caveats that must be considered when deciding whether or not autophagy is an important effector mechanism of cell death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1004-1010
Number of pages7
JournalNature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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