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Autophagy in healthy aging and disease.

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Aman, Yahyah 
Schmauck-Medina, Tomas  ORCID logo
Hansen, Malene 
Morimoto, Richard I 
Simon, Anna Katharina 


Autophagy is a fundamental cellular process that eliminates molecules and subcellular elements, including nucleic acids, proteins, lipids and organelles, via lysosome-mediated degradation to promote homeostasis, differentiation, development and survival. While autophagy is intimately linked to health, the intricate relationship among autophagy, aging and disease remains unclear. This Review examines several emerging features of autophagy and postulates how they may be linked to aging as well as to the development and progression of disease. In addition, we discuss current preclinical evidence arguing for the use of autophagy modulators as suppressors of age-related pathologies such as neurodegenerative diseases. Finally, we highlight key questions and propose novel research avenues that will likely reveal new links between autophagy and the hallmarks of aging. Understanding the precise interplay between autophagy and the risk of age-related pathologies across organisms will eventually facilitate the development of clinical applications that promote long-term health.



Humans, Healthy Aging, Autophagy, Aging, Lysosomes, Neurodegenerative Diseases

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Nat Aging

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC


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European Commission (233655)
Southern and Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority (2020001)
D.C.R. is supported by the UK Dementia Research Institute (funded by the MRC, Alzheimer’s Research UK and the Alzheimer’s Society) (UKDRI-2002 to DCR), The Tau Consortium, Alzheimer’s Research UK, an anonymous donation to the Cambridge Centre for Parkinson-Plus, and The Roger de Spoelberch Prize.