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J Appl Toxicol. 2012 Jul;32(7):465-79. doi: 10.1002/jat.1787. Epub 2012 Feb 15.

Autophagy in toxicology: self-consumption in times of stress and plenty.

Author information

1
Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, College of Pharmacy, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85724, USA. klimecki@pharmacy.arizona.edu

Abstract

Autophagy is a critical cellular process orchestrating the lysosomal degradation of cellular components in order to maintain cellular homeostasis and respond to cellular stress. A growing research effort over the last decade has proven autophagy to be essential for constitutive protein and organelle turnover, for embryonic/neonatal survival and for cell survival during conditions of environmental stress. Emphasizing its biological importance, dysfunctional autophagy contributes to a diverse set of human diseases. Cellular stress induced by xenobiotic exposure typifies environmental stress, and can result in the induction of autophagy as a cytoprotective mechanism. An increasing number of xenobiotics are notable for their ability to modulate the induction or the rate of autophagy. The role of autophagy in normal cellular homeostasis, the intricate relationship between cellular stress and the induction of autophagy, and the identification of specific xenobiotics capable of modulating autophagy, point to the importance of the autophagic process in toxicology. This review will summarize the importance of autophagy and its role in cellular response to stress, including examples in which consideration of autophagy has contributed to a more complete understanding of toxicant-perturbed systems.

PMID:
22334383
PMCID:
PMC3572937
DOI:
10.1002/jat.1787
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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