Published online Dec 26, 2016. doi: 10.4252/wjsc.v8.i12.396
Peer-review started: June 3, 2016
First decision: July 5, 2016
Revised: July 26, 2016
Accepted: September 21, 2016
Article in press: September 22, 2016
Published online: December 26, 2016
Core tip: Autophagy is a major catabolic process in eukaryotic cells in which damaged macromolecules and organelles are degraded and recycled. Several studies have demonstrated its crucial role in bone and muscle cell homeostasis. Deficiency or dysfunction in autophagy can result in pathological conditions such as osteoporosis and sarcopenia, which are associated with ageing. It is important to understand the role of the macromolecules involved in autophagy to devise how to counteract its decline and to hinder irreversible cell damage.