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Mechanistic insights into fasting-induced autophagy in the aging heart.

Autophagy is a prosurvival mechanism for the clearance of accumulated abnormal proteins, damaged organelles, and excessive lipids within mammalian cells. A growing body of data indicates that autophagy is reduced in aging cells. This reduction leads to various diseases, such as myocardial hypertrophy, infarction, and atherosclerosis. Recent studies in animal models of an aging heart showed that fasting-induced autophagy improved cardiac function and longevity. This improvement is related to autophagic clearance of damaged cellular components via either bulk or selective autophagy (such as mitophagy). In this editorial, we summarize the mechanisms of autophagy in normal and aging hearts. In addition, the protective effect of fasting-induced autophagy in cardiac aging has been highlighted.

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