Send to

Choose Destination
Trends Cell Biol. 2011 Jul;21(7):387-92. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2011.03.007. Epub 2011 May 10.

Autophagy and apoptosis: what is the connection?

Author information

Department of Pharmacology, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO 80045, USA.


The therapeutic potential of autophagy for the treatment cancer and other diseases is beset by paradoxes stemming from the complexity of the interactions between the apoptotic and autophagic machinery. The simplest question of how autophagy acts as both a protector and executioner of cell death remains the subject of substantial controversy. Elucidating the molecular interactions between the processes will help us understand how autophagy can modulate cell death, whether autophagy is truly a cell death mechanism, and how these functions are regulated. We suggest that, despite many connections between autophagy and apoptosis, a strong causal relationship wherein one process controls the other, has not been demonstrated adequately. Knowing when and how to modulate autophagy therapeutically depends on understanding these connections.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center