Affiliation: Room 3038, St. Boniface Research Centre, Laboratory of Molecular Cardiology, Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R2H 2A6, Canada.
Survival of myocytes and mesenchymal cells in the heart is tightly regulated by a number of adaptive processes that are invoked with the changes that occur within the parenchyma and stroma. Autophagy is implicated in cellular housekeeping duties and maintenance of the integrity of the intracellular milieu by removal of protein aggregates and damaged organelles, whereas under pathophysiological conditions, the chronic up-regulation of autophagy may lead to significant disturbance of homeostatic conditions. Nonetheless, the role of autophagy in heart disease in the context of cardiac ischemia-reperfusion injury is currently unclear. This review will focus upon the role of autophagy as it pertains to ischemiareperfusion damage in the heart.