Survival by self-destruction: A role for autophagy in the placenta?

I. Bildirici, M. S. Longtine, B. Chen, D. M. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Autophagy is a burgeoning area of research from yeast to humans. Although previously described as a death pathway, autophagy is now considered an important survival phenomenon in response to environmental stressors to which most organs are exposed. Despite an ever expanding literature in non-placental cells, studies of autophagy in the placenta are lagging. We review the regulation of autophagy, summarize available placental studies of autophagy, and highlight potential areas for future research. We believe that such studies will yield novel insights into how placentas protect the survival of the species by "self-eating".

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)591-598
Number of pages8
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • ATG genes
  • Apoptosis
  • Autophagy
  • Placenta
  • Trophoblast
  • mTOR


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