Research on autophagy and its effects on cell metabolism and physiology has increased dramatically during recent years. Multiple forms of autophagy have been characterized, and many of the genes involved in the regulation of this process have been identified. The importance of autophagy for embryonic development and maintenance of tissue homeostasis in the adult organism has been demonstrated convincingly, and several human diseases have been linked to deficiencies in autophagy. Most often, autophagy serves as a protective mechanism, but persistent activation of autophagy can result in cell death. This is true for many toxic agents. In fact, there are ample examples of cross talk between autophagy and other modes of cell death after exposure to toxicants. However, the relative contribution of autophagy to the overall toxicity of these compounds is not always clear, and further research is needed to clarify the toxicological significance of this process.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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