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A RECONSIDERATION OF AUTOLYSIS AS A VITAL PROCESS

JAMA. 1922;79(6):478-479. doi:10.1001/jama.1922.02640060060017.
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Some years ago the medical literature was full of articles on autolysis; this process was invoked to explain so many unexplained phenomena that it became almost as much of a catchword as "endocrines" now is. Attention seemed to be diverted from the subject after a time, and only a few pathologists and biochemists have continued investigating this phenomenon. The tumult and the shouting having now faded well away, it is interesting to consider what has survived of it all, and what significance is now attached to autolysis.

The importance of autolysis in the disintegration of dead tissues has never been questioned since Martin Jacoby's classical experiments, and this function seems now to be established beyond dispute. The problem that has more agitated investigators is the part played by autolysis in physiologic processes and in normal metabolism. It seems reasonable to assume that a property so well-nigh universal as autolysis must

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