Therapeutic targeting of autophagy in cardiovascular disease

Gabriele G. Schiattarella, Joseph A Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


Autophagy is an evolutionarily ancient process of intracellular catabolism necessary to preserve cellular homeostasis in response to a wide variety of stresses. In the case of post-mitotic cells, where cell replacement is not an option, finely tuned quality control of cytoplasmic constituents and organelles is especially critical. And due to the ubiquitous and critical role of autophagic flux in the maintenance of cell health, it comes as little surprise that perturbation of the autophagic process is observed in multiple disease processes. A large body of preclinical evidence suggests that autophagy is a double-edged sword in cardiovascular disease, acting in either beneficial or maladaptive ways, depending on the context. In light of this, the autophagic machinery in cardiomyocytes and other cardiovascular cell types has been proposed as a potential therapeutic target. Here, we summarize current knowledge regarding the dual functions of autophagy in cardiovascular disease. We go on to analyze recent evidence suggesting that titration of autophagic flux holds potential as a novel treatment strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)86-93
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • Cardiac hypertrophy
  • Heart failure
  • Remodeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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