Regulation of autophagy by some natural products as a potential therapeutic strategy for cardiovascular disorders

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Autophagy is a lysosomal degradation process through which long-lived and misfolded proteins and organelles are sequestered, degraded by lysosomes, and recycled. Autophagy is an essential part of cardiomyocyte homeostasis and increases the survival of cells following cellular stress and starvation. Recent studies made clear that dysregulation of autophagy in the cardiovascular system leads to heart hypertrophy and failure. In this manner, autophagy seems to be an attractive target in the new treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Although limited activation of autophagy is generally considered to be cardioprotective, excessive autophagy leads to cell death and cardiac atrophy. Natural products such as resveratrol, berberine, and curcumin that are present in our diet, can trigger autophagy via canonical (Beclin-1-dependent) and non-canonical (Beclin-1-independent) pathways. The autophagy-modifying capacity of these compounds should be taken into consideration for designing novel therapeutic agents. This review focuses on the role of autophagy in the cardioprotective effects of these compounds.

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