The temporal pattern, flux, and function of autophagy in spinal cord injury

Kailiang Zhou, Charles A. Sansur, Huazi Xu, Xiaofeng Jia

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Previous studies have indicated that autophagy plays a critical role in spinal cord injury (SCI), including traumatic spinal cord injury (TSCI) and ischemia-reperfusion spinal cord injury (IRSCI). However, while the undstanding of mechanisms underlying autophagy in SCI has progressed, there remain several controversial points: (1) temporal pattern results of autophagic activation after SCI are not consistent across studies; (2) effect of accumulation of autophagosomes due to the blockade or enhancement of autophagic flux is uncertain; (3) overall effect of enhanced autophagy remains undefined, with both beneficial and detrimental outcomes reported in SCI literature. In this review, the temporal pattern of autophagic activation, autophagic flux, autophagic cell death, relationship between autophagy and apoptosis and pharmacological intervention of autophagy in TSCI (contusion injury, compression injury and hemisection injury) and IRSCI are discussed. Types of SCI and severity appears to contribute to differences in outcomes regarding temporal pattern, flux, and function of autophagy. With future development of specific strategies on autophagy intervention, autophagy may play an important role in improving functional recovery in patients with SCI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number466
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 21 2017


  • Autophagy
  • Flux
  • Function
  • Ischemia-reperfusion spinal cord injury
  • Temporal pattern
  • Traumatic spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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