Extending lifespan through autophagy stimulation: a future perspective
Ageing is a natural process characterized by the gradual decline of physiological functions. In the last decades,
human lifespan has considerably increased. Consequently, population ageing and the resulting increase of
people affected by age-related diseases, is emerging as a major social and economic challenge in developed
countries. This scenario has led to an exponential growth of research projects in the field of ageing, with the
aim of identifying amenable drug targets and pharmacological interventions to extend human healthy lifespan.
Extensive evidence in literature suggests that the dysfunction of autophagy, a highly conserved pathway
involved in maintaining cellular homeostasis, is part of the ageing process with roles in the pathobiology
of age-related diseases. Moreover, accumulating experimental data from invertebrate and vertebrate animal
models demonstrate that intervening to increase lifespan also induces autophagy, suggesting that stimulating
such cellular process may represent an effective strategy to increase longevity. Here, we reviewed the literature
on autophagy in ageing and age-related diseases, also discussing the perspective of behavioral and pharmacological
interventions that may increase healthy lifespan through autophagy stimulation.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
© Società Italiana di Gerontologia e Geriatria (SIGG) , 2017
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