Autophagy and amino acid metabolism in the brain: Implications for epilepsy

Eloy Bejarano, José Antonio Rodríguez-Navarro

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Autophagy is a catabolic pathway responsible for the maintenance of the tissue and organism homeostasis. Several amino acids regulate autophagic activity in different tissues, such as liver and muscle, but much less is known about this regulation in the brain. The lack of autophagy in neurons leads to a strong neurodegenerative phenotype and epileptic disorders. We summarize the current knowledge about the regulation of autophagy mediated by amino acids and how macroautophagy could serve as source of amino acids. We review the contribution of macroautophagy in the brain physiology and pathology emphasizing the relevancy of the proper control of amino acid levels such as glutamate and GABA in the brain due to its role as neurotransmitters and energy source. Furthermore, we discuss how malfunction in autophagy may result in pathological consequences, because many genetic epileptic disorders are related to signaling or metabolic pathways controlling both macroautophagy and amino acid metabolism in the brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2113-2126
Number of pages14
JournalAmino Acids
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 29 2015


  • Epilepsy
  • Glutamine
  • Ketogenic diet
  • Leucine
  • Macroautophagy
  • mTOR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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