Autophagy: should it play a role in ICU management?

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Abstract

Purpose of review

This review is to discuss the role of autophagy in the critically ill patient population. As the understanding of autophagy continues to expand and evolve, there are certain controversies surrounding whether intensivist should allow the benefit of autophagy to supersede gold standard of insulin therapy or early nutritional support.

Recent findings

The review is relevant as the current literature seems to support under-feeding patients, and perhaps the reason these studies were positive could be prescribed to the mechanisms of autophagy. It is well understood that autophagy is a physiologic response to stress and starvation, and that the inducible form could help patients with end-organ dysfunction return to homeostasis.

Summary

The jury is still out as to how autophagy will play into clinical practice as we review several gold standard therapies for the critically ill.

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