Autophagy at the interface of endothelial cell homeostasis and vascular disease

Eleonora Mameli, Andrea Martello, Andrea Caporali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Autophagy is an essential intracellular process for cellular quality control. It enables cell homeostasis through the selective degradation of harmful protein aggregates and damaged organelles. Autophagy is essential for recycling nutrients, generating energy to maintain cell viability in most tissues and during adverse conditions such as hypoxia/ischaemia. The progressive understanding of the mechanisms modulating autophagy in the vasculature has recently led numerous studies to link intact autophagic responses with endothelial cell homeostasis and function. Preserved autophagic flux within the endothelial cells has an essential role in maintaining their physiological characteristics, whereas defective autophagy can promote endothelial pro-inflammatory and atherogenic phenotype. However, we still lack a good knowledge of the complete molecular repertoire controlling various aspects of endothelial autophagy and how this is associated with vascular diseases. Here, we provide an overview of the current state-of-the-art of autophagy in endothelial cells. We review the discoveries that have so far defined autophagy as an essential mechanism in vascular biology and analyse how autophagy influences endothelial cells behaviour in vascular disease. Finally, we emphasise opportunities for compounds to regulate autophagy in endothelial cells and discuss the challenges of exploiting them to resolve vascular disease.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe FEBS Journal
Early online date2 May 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 May 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • endothelial cells
  • autophagy
  • vascular disease
  • senescence
  • inflammation
  • therapeutic modulation


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