Copyright ©The Author(s) 2016. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Stem Cells. Dec 26, 2016; 8(12): 396-398
Published online Dec 26, 2016. doi: 10.4252/wjsc.v8.i12.396
Role of autophagy in bone and muscle biology
Maria Teresa Valenti, Luca Dalle Carbonare, Monica Mottes
Maria Teresa Valenti, Luca Dalle Carbonare, Department of Medicine, Section of Internal Medicine D, University of Verona, 37134 Verona, Italy
Monica Mottes, Department of Neurological, Biomedical and Movement Sciences, Section of Biology and Genetics, University of Verona, 37134 Verona, Italy
Author contributions: All authors contributed equally to the preparation of the manuscript.
Conflict-of-interest statement: All authors disclose no financial and personal relationships with other people or organizations that could inappropriately influence or bias their work.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article which was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
Correspondence to: Maria Teresa Valenti, PhD, Department of Medicine, Section of Internal Medicine D, University of Verona, Piazzale Scuro, 10, 37134 Verona, Italy. mariateresa.valenti@univr.it
Telephone: +39-045-8128450 Fax: +39-045-8027496
Received: June 1, 2016
Peer-review started: June 3, 2016
First decision: July 5, 2016
Revised: July 26, 2016
Accepted: September 21, 2016
Article in press: September 22, 2016
Published online: December 26, 2016

Autophagy in eukaryotic cells is a constitutive process and functions as a homeostatic mechanism; it is upregulated in response to specific stress stimuli such as starvation, hypoxia and as oxidative stress. In addition to playing a crucial role in adaptive responses to different stimuli, autophagy is also required for intracellular quality control. This second aspect is important to prevent the activation of pathological processes. Autophagy also plays a central role in cellular development and differentiation because it is involved in the regulation of energetic balance. This final aspect is critical for maintaining proper bone and muscle function as well as to prevent any pathological changes. Therefore, identifying new molecular targets involved in autophagy is critical to assure a good quality of life.

Keywords: Autophagy, Bone, Muscle

Core tip: Autophagy is a major catabolic process in eukaryotic cells in which damaged macromolecules and organelles are degraded and recycled. Several studies have demonstrated its crucial role in bone and muscle cell homeostasis. Deficiency or dysfunction in autophagy can result in pathological conditions such as osteoporosis and sarcopenia, which are associated with ageing. It is important to understand the role of the macromolecules involved in autophagy to devise how to counteract its decline and to hinder irreversible cell damage.