Autophagy in the diabetic heart: A potential pharmacotherapeutic target in diabetic cardiomyopathy

Saikat Dewanjee, Jayalakshmi Vallamkondu, Rajkumar Singh Kalra, Albin John, P Hemachandra Reddy, Ramesh Kandimalla
Ageing Research Reviews 2021 April 7, 68: 101338
Association of diabetes with an elevated risk of cardiac failure has been clinically evident. Diabetes potentiates diastolic and systolic cardiac failure following the myocardial infarction that produces the cardiac muscle-specific microvascular complication, clinically termed as diabetic cardiomyopathy. Elevated susceptibility of diabetic cardiomyopathy is primarily caused by the generation of free radicals in the hyperglycemic milieu, compromising the myocardial contractility and normal cardiac functions with increasing redox insult, impaired mitochondria, damaged organelles, apoptosis, and cardiomyocytes fibrosis. Autophagy is essentially involved in the recycling/clearing the damaged organelles, cytoplasmic contents, and aggregates, which are frequently produced in cardiomyocytes. Although autophagy plays a vital role in maintaining the cellular homeostasis in diligent cardiac tissues, this process is frequently impaired in the diabetic heart. Given its clinical significance, accumulating evidence largely showed the functional aspects of autophagy in diabetic cardiomyopathy, elucidating its intricate protective and pathogenic outcomes. However, etiology and molecular readouts of these contrary autophagy activities in diabetic cardiomyopathy are not yet comprehensively assessed and translated. In this review, we attempted to assess the role of autophagy and its adaptations in the diabetic heart. To delineate the molecular consequences of these events, we provided detailed insights into the autophagy regulation pieces of machinery including the mTOR/AMPK, TFEB/ZNSCAN3, FOXOs, SIRTs, PINK1/Parkin, Nrf2, miRNAs, and others in the diabetic cardiomyopathy. Given the clinical significance of autophagy in the diabetic heart, we further discussed the potential pharmacotherapeutic strategies towards targeting autophagy. Taken together, the present report meticulously assessed autophagy, its adaptations, and molecular regulations in diabetic cardiomyopathy and reviewed the current autophagy-targeting strategies.

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