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Beyond Self-Recycling: Cell-Specific Role of Autophagy in Atherosclerosis.

Cells. 2021 Mar 11;10(3):625. doi: 10.3390/cells10030625. PMID: 33799835; PMCID: PMC7998923.

Authors/Editors: Henderson JM, Weber C, Santovito D.
Publication Date: 2021


Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the arterial vessel wall and underlies the development of cardiovascular diseases, such as myocardial infarction and ischemic stroke. As such, atherosclerosis stands as the leading cause of death and disability worldwide and intensive scientific efforts are made to investigate its complex pathophysiology, which involves the deregulation of crucial intracellular pathways and intricate interactions between diverse cell types. A growing body of evidence, including in vitro and in vivo studies involving cell-specific deletion of autophagy-related genes (ATGs), has unveiled the mechanistic relevance of cell-specific (endothelial, smooth-muscle, and myeloid cells) defective autophagy in the processes of atherogenesis. In this review, we underscore the recent insights on autophagy's cell-type-dependent role in atherosclerosis development and progression, featuring the relevance of canonical catabolic functions and emerging noncanonical mechanisms, and highlighting the potential therapeutic implications for prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis and its complications.

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