Background: Heme-oxygenase (HO) catalyzes the main enzymatic step of heme degradation and generates anti-inflammatory end products with protective roles in physiological and pathological situations. The importance of HO in pathological conditions is evidenced by its pharmacological inhibition or genetic blockage in different models of stress such as infection, inflammation and oxidative stress. Under these situations, another well-known protective process triggered is autophagy. Autophagy is a homeostatic process that eliminates defective cytosolic components and organelles, allowing cells and tissues to recover through recycling of functional blocks for anabolic reactions. Recently, studies have demonstrated a link between HO activity and autophagy activation.
Objective: In this review, we focus on the interplay between HO and autophagy, and highlight its importance in homeostasis maintenance under stress conditions.