Theranostics 2020; 10(18):7993-8017. doi:10.7150/thno.47826

Review

Self-eating: friend or foe? The emerging role of autophagy in fibrotic diseases

Yajing Li1, Runping Liu2, Jianzhi Wu1, Xiaojiaoyang Li1✉

1. School of Life Sciences, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, 11 Bei San Huan Dong Lu, Beijing, 100029, China.
2. School of Chinese Materia Medica, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, 11 Bei San Huan Dong Lu, Beijing, 100029, China.

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Citation:
Li Y, Liu R, Wu J, Li X. Self-eating: friend or foe? The emerging role of autophagy in fibrotic diseases. Theranostics 2020; 10(18):7993-8017. doi:10.7150/thno.47826. Available from http://www.thno.org/v10p7993.htm

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Abstract

Fibrosis occurs in most human organs including the liver, lung, heart and kidney, and is crucial for the progression of most chronic diseases. As an indispensable catabolic process for intracellular quality control and homeostasis, autophagy occurs in most mammalian cells and is implicated in many biological processes including fibrogenesis. Although advances have been made in understanding autophagy process, the potential role of autophagy in fibrotic diseases remains controversial and has recently attracted a great deal of attention. In the current review, we summarize the commonalities of autophagy affecting different types of fibrosis in different organs, including the liver, lung, heart, and kidney as well as in cystic fibrosis, systematically outline the contradictory results and highlight the distinct role of autophagy during the various stages of fibrosis. In summary, the exact role autophagy plays in fibrogenesis depends on specific cell types and different stimuli, and identifying and evaluating the pathogenic contribution of autophagy in fibrogenesis will promote the discovery of novel therapeutic strategies for the clinical management of these fibrotic diseases.

Keywords: Fibrosis, autophagy, TGF-β pathway, cell senescence, protein degradation.