Axon degeneration is a pathophysiological process of axonal dying and breakdown, which is characterized by several morphological features including the accumulation of axoplasmic organelles, disassembly of microtubules, and fragmentation of the axonal cytoskeleton. Autophagy, a highly conserved lysosomal-degradation machinery responsible for the control of cellular protein quality, is widely believed to be essential for the maintenance of axonal homeostasis in neurons. In recent years, more and more evidence suggests that dysfunctional autophagy is associated with axonal degeneration in many neurodegenerative diseases. Here, we review the core machinery of autophagy in neuronal cells, and provide several major steps that interfere with autophagy flux in neurodegenerative conditions. Furthermore, this review highlights the potential role of neuronal autophagy in axon degeneration, and presents some possible molecular mechanisms by which dysfunctional autophagy leads to axon degeneration in pathological conditions.
Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 19, 2018
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