Autophagy in diabetic kidney disease: regulation, pathological role and therapeutic potential

Danyi Yang, Man J. Livingston, Zhiwen Liu, Guie Dong, Ming Zhang, Jian Kang Chen, Zheng Dong

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

163 Scopus citations


Diabetic kidney disease, a leading cause of end-stage renal disease, has become a serious public health problem worldwide and lacks effective therapies. Autophagy is a highly conserved lysosomal degradation pathway that removes protein aggregates and damaged organelles to maintain cellular homeostasis. As important stress-responsive machinery, autophagy is involved in the pathogenesis of various diseases. Emerging evidence has suggested that dysregulated autophagy may contribute to both glomerular and tubulointerstitial pathologies in kidneys under diabetic conditions. This review summarizes the recent findings regarding the role of autophagy in the pathogenesis of diabetic kidney disease and highlights the regulation of autophagy by the nutrient-sensing pathways and intracellular stress signaling in this disease. The advances in our understanding of autophagy in diabetic kidney disease will facilitate the discovery of a new therapeutic target for the prevention and treatment of this life-threatening diabetes complication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)669-688
Number of pages20
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018


  • AMPK
  • ER stress
  • Hypoxia
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Sirt1
  • mTOR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology


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