The Role of Autophagy in the Maintenance of Stemness and Differentiation of Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Francesca Vittoria Sbrana, Margherita Cortini, Sofia Avnet, Francesca Perut, Marta Columbaro, Angelo De Milito, Nicola Baldini

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Regulated self-consumption, also known as autophagy, is an evolutionary conserved process that degrades cellular components by directing them to the lysosomal compartment of eukaryotic cells. As a major intracellular degradation and recycling pathway, autophagy is crucial for maintaining and remodeling cellular homeostasis during normal cellular and tissue development. Recent studies have demonstrated that autophagy is necessary for the maintenance of cellular stemness and for a number of differentiation processes, including the lineage determination of mesenchymal stem cells. These are multipotent progenitor cells with self-renewal capacities that can give rise to a subset of tissues and thus hold a consistent potential in regenerative medicine. Here, we review the current literature on the complex liaison between autophagy induced by various extra- or intracellular stimuli and the molecular targets that affect mesenchymal stem cells proliferation and differentiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)621-633
Number of pages13
JournalStem Cell Reviews and Reports
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2016


  • Acidity
  • Autophagy
  • Differentiation
  • Hypoxia
  • Mesenchymal stem cell
  • Senescence
  • Stemness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research


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