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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013, Article ID 420497, 8 pages
Review Article

Self-Eating: Friend or Foe? The Emerging Role of Autophagy in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

1Interstitial Lung Disease Unit, University Hospital of Heraklion, 71110 Heraklion, Crete, Greece
2Laboratory of Virology, Medical School, University of Crete, 71110 Heraklion, Crete, Greece

Received 27 December 2012; Revised 27 February 2013; Accepted 27 February 2013

Academic Editor: Sharbel Weidner Maluf

Copyright © 2013 George A. Margaritopoulos et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is the most common and severe form of idiopathic interstitial pneumonias. Despite an exponential increase in our understanding of potentially important mediators and mechanisms, the pathogenesis remains elusive, and little therapeutic progress has been made in the last few years. Mortality in 3–5 years is still 50%. Autophagy, a highly conserved homeostatic mechanism necessary for cell survival, has been recently implicated in the pathogenesis of pulmonary disorders. In this paper we aim to highlight some key issues regarding the process of autophagy and its possible association with the pathogenesis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.