Decoding the Enigmatic Nature of Autophagy-Related Diseases: Exploring the Intricacies of Cellular Self-Destruction and Paving the Path to Therapeutic Breakthroughs

Author(s): Ying Qiu

Autophagy, a fundamental cellular process, has garnered significant attention in recent years due to its role in various pathological conditions. Autophagy-related diseases encompass a diverse array of disorders, ranging from neurodegenerative diseases to cancer and metabolic disorders. Understanding the intricate mechanisms and regulation of autophagy is crucial for deciphering the enigmatic nature of these diseases and identifying potential therapeutic targets. This review aims to explore the multifaceted aspects of autophagy-related diseases and shed light on the complex cellular self- destruction process. We delve into the molecular machinery and signaling pathways governing autophagy, highlighting the key players involved in the initiation, elongation, and termination phases. Additionally, we discuss the crosstalk between autophagy and other cellular processes, such as apoptosis and inflammation, emphasizing their interplay in disease pathogenesis. Furthermore, we examine the dysregulation of autophagy in various disorders, elucidating how defects in autophagy contribute to disease progression. We provide a comprehensive overview of autophagy-related diseases, focusing on neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Huntington's diseases, as well as cancer and metabolic disorders like diabetes and obesity. We discuss the specific molecular and cellular alterations associated with each disease and how they disrupt the autophagy machinery. Lastly, we explore the potential therapeutic avenues for targeting autophagy in disease treatment. We highlight the emerging strategies and experimental approaches, including pharmacological modulators, gene therapy, and novel molecular interventions that aim to restore or enhance autophagy flux in diseased cells. We also discuss the challenges and future directions in the development of autophagy-targeted therapies, emphasizing the need for precise modulation of autophagy to achieve optimal therapeutic outcomes.