Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Eur J Cell Biol. 2004 Oct;83(10):583-90.

Inhibition of autophagy with 3-methyladenine results in impaired turnover of lysosomes and accumulation of lipofuscin-like material.

Author information

  • 1Division of Pathology II, Department of Neuroscience and Locomotion, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, Sweden. yurst@inr.liu.se


Autophagy (which includes macro-, micro-, and chaperone-mediated autophagy) is an important biological mechanism for degradation of damaged/obsolete macromolecules and organelles. Ageing non-dividing cells, however, progressively accumulate oxidised proteins, defective organelles and intralysosomal lipofuscin inclusions, suggesting inherent insufficiency of autophagy. To learn more about the role of macroautophagy in the turnover of organelles and lipofuscin formation, we inhibited autophagic sequestration with 3-methyladenine (3 MA) in growth-arrested human fibroblasts, a classical model of cellular ageing. Such treatment resulted in a dramatic accumulation of altered lysosomes, displaying lipofuscin-like autofluorescence, as well as in a moderate increase of mitochondria with lowered membrane potential. The size of the late endosomal compartment appeared not to be significantly altered following 3 MA exposure. The accumulation of lipofuscin-like material was enhanced when 3 MA administration was combined with hyperoxia. The findings suggest that macroautophagy is essential for normal turnover of lysosomes. This notion is supported by reports in the literature of lysosomal membrane proteins inside lysosomes and/or late endosomes, as well as lysosomes with active hydrolases within autophagosomes following vinblastine-induced block of fusion between lysosomes and autophagosomes. The data also suggest that specific components of lysosomes, such as membranes and proteins, may be direct sources of lipofuscin.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk