Autophagy is a highly conserved mechanism of lysosome-mediated protein and organelle degradation that plays a crucial role in maintaining cellular homeostasis. In the last few years, specific functions for autophagy have been identified in many tissues and organs. In the cardiovascular system, autophagy appears to be essential to heart and vessel homeostasis and function; however defective or excessive autophagy activity seems to contribute to major cardiovascular disorders including heart failure (HF) or atherosclerosis. Here, we review the current knowledge on the role of cardiovascular autophagy in physiological and pathophysiological conditions.

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