Autophagy is a vesicle and lysosome-mediated degradative pathway that is essential for protein homeostasis and cell health. In particular, compared to nonneuronal cells, neurons are dependent on high basal autophagy for survival. There is emerging agreement that defects in autophagy are likely to contribute to the neurodegenerative processes in numerous diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Autophagy-lysosome defects occur early in the pathogenesis of AD and have been proposed to be a significant contributor to the disease process. Given the fact that autophagy deficits are likely major contributors to the etiology of AD, the focus of this review will be on recent studies that support a role for autophagy deficits in AD.
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