Functions of autophagy in hepatic and pancreatic physiology and disease

Mark J. Czaja

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

150 Scopus citations


Autophagy is a lysosomal pathway that degrades and recycles intracellular organelles and proteins to maintain energy homeostasis during times of nutrient deprivation and to remove damaged cell components. Recent studies have identified new functions for autophagy under basal and stressed conditions. In the liver and pancreas, autophagy performs the standard functions of degrading mitochondria and aggregated proteins and regulating cell death. In addition, autophagy functions in these organs to regulate lipid accumulation in hepatic steatosis, trypsinogen activation in pancreatitis, and hepatitis virus replication. This review discusses the effects of autophagy on hepatic and pancreatic physiology and the contribution of this degradative process to diseases of these organs. The discovery of novel functions for this lysosomal pathway has increased our understanding of the pathophysiology of diseases in the liver and pancreas and suggested new possibilities for their treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1895-1908
Number of pages14
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Cell Death
  • Hepatitis Virus
  • Pancreatitis
  • Steatosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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