Autophagy is a ubiquitous cell recycling pathway that delivers cytoplasmic constituents to the lysosome and is essential for normal cellular function. Autophagic activity is up-regulated under physiological conditions as well as stressful conditions such as nutrient deprivation, oxidative stress, hypoxia, inflammation, and infection. Thus, it is essential to regard the functional importance of the pathway and its components in a given tissue context. Here we review what is known about the involvement of autophagy process during physiological processes in the female reproductive tract and in pregnancy from preimplantation to oocyte function to placental development, parturition, and postpartum remodeling of the uterus; as well as in pathological and adverse events during these processes.
- preterm birth