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Autophagy, Myocardial Protection, and the Metabolic Syndrome

Giricz, Zoltan PhD*; Mentzer, Robert M. Jr MD*,†,‡,§; Gottlieb, Roberta A. MD*

Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology: August 2012 - Volume 60 - Issue 2 - p 125–132
doi: 10.1097/FJC.0b013e318256ce10
Invited Review Article

Abstract: Autophagy is a housekeeping process that helps to maintain cellular energy homeostasis and remove damaged organelles. In the heart, autophagy is an adaptive process that is activated in response to stress including acute and chronic ischemia. Given the evidence that autophagy is suppressed in energy-rich conditions, the objective of this review is to examine autophagy and cardioprotection in the setting of the metabolic syndrome. Clinical approaches that involve the induction of cardiac autophagy pharmacologically to enhance the heart's tolerance to ischemia are also discussed.

*Department of Biology, Donald P. Shiley BioScience Center, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA

Department of Physiology, Cardiovascular Research Institute

Departments of Physiology

§Surgery, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI.

Reprints: Roberta A. Gottlieb, MD, Donald P. Shiley BioScience Center, San Diego State University, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182-4650 (e-mail:

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Received December 14, 2011

Accepted March 21, 2012

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.