MDPI, Cells, 12(7), p. 279, 2018
Due to ageing of the population, the incidence of cardiovascular diseases will increase in the coming years, constituting a substantial burden on health care systems. In particular, atrial fibrillation (AF) is approaching epidemic proportions. It has been identified that the derailment of proteostasis, which is characterized by the loss of homeostasis in protein biosynthesis, folding, trafficking, and clearance by protein degradation systems such as autophagy, underlies the development of common cardiac diseases. Among various safeguards within the proteostasis system, autophagy is a vital cellular process that modulates clearance of misfolded and proteotoxic proteins from cardiomyocytes. On the other hand, excessive autophagy may result in derailment of proteostasis and therefore cardiac dysfunction. Here, we review the interplay between autophagy and proteostasis in the healthy heart, discuss the imbalance between autophagy and proteostasis during cardiac diseases, including AF, and finally explore new druggable targets which may limit cardiac disease initiation and progression.