Autophagy in trimethyltin-induced neurodegeneration

Elena Pompili, Cinzia Fabrizi, Lorenzo Fumagalli, Francesco Fornai

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Autophagy is a degradative process playing an important role in removing misfolded or aggregated proteins, clearing damaged organelles, such as mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum, as well as eliminating intracellular pathogens. The autophagic process is important for balancing sources of energy at critical developmental stages and in response to nutrient stress. Recently, autophagy has been involved in the pathophysiology of neurodegenerative diseases although its beneficial (pro-survival) or detrimental (pro-death) role remains controversial. In the present review, we discuss the role of autophagy following intoxication with trimethyltin (TMT), an organotin compound that induces severe hippocampal neurodegeneration associated with astrocyte and microglia activation. TMT is considered a useful tool to study the molecular mechanisms occurring in human neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and temporal lobe epilepsy. This is also relevant in the field of environmental safety, since organotin compounds are used as heat stabilizers in polyvinyl chloride polymers, industrial and agricultural biocides, and as industrial chemical catalysts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)987-998
Number of pages12
JournalJ. Neural Transm.
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


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