Autophagy regulates satellite cell ability to regenerate normal and dystrophic muscles

E. Fiacco, F. Castagnetti, V. Bianconi, L. Madaro, M. De Bardi, F. Nazio, A. D'Amico, E. Bertini, F. Cecconi, P. L. Puri, L. Latella*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Autophagy is emerging as a key regulatory process during skeletal muscle development, regeneration and homeostasis, and deregulated autophagy has been implicated in muscular disorders and age-related muscle decline. We have monitored autophagy in muscles of mdx mice and human Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) patients at different stages of disease. Our data show that autophagy is activated during the early, compensatory regenerative stages of DMD. A progressive reduction was observed during mdx disease progression, in coincidence with the functional exhaustion of satellite cell-mediated regeneration and accumulation of fibrosis. Moreover, pharmacological manipulation of autophagy can influence disease progression in mdx mice. Of note, studies performed in regenerating muscles of wild-type mice revealed an essential role of autophagy in the activation of satellite cells upon muscle injury. These results support the notion that regeneration-associated autophagy contributes to the early compensatory stage of DMD progression, and interventions that extend activation of autophagy might be beneficial in the treatment of DMD. Thus, autophagy could be a 'disease modifier' targeted by interventions aimed to promote regeneration and delay disease progression in DMD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1839-1849
Number of pages11
JournalCell Death and Differentiation
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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