The autolysis

The autolysis the destruction of tissues and cells of intracellular enzymes (mainly proteolytic) without participation of microorganisms. The autolysis characteristic of some pathological (neoplasms, gangrene) and post mortem changes taking place in tissues.

The autolysis (from the Greek. autos - himself lysis - destruction) - a protein breakdown of the cells of body tissues, taking place in a sterile environment under the influence of specific enzymes of these cells (cathepsins and others). The pH optimum of cathepsins lies within 3-5, far from pH normal tissues (6,8-7,2), resulting in the life of the body they have little activity and cause only a small protein breakdown, fully compensated for their synthesis. After the death of the body or when the necrotic tissue under the influence of injuries or other reasons, not connected with the activity of pathogenic microbes, when pH tissues quickly shifted to the acid side following the termination of the aerobic oxidation processes and strengthening of glycolysis (see), the activity of cathepsins is rapidly increasing, the breakdown of proteins dead cells increases and is self-digestion of cells. The largest number of cathepsins is located in the pancreas, liver, spleen and kidneys, in connection with which the autolysis in these tissues after death occurs earlier than in others. In some cases, the autolysis tissues can occur under physiological conditions. So, autolysis plays a big role in involution of the uterus after birth, breast cancer after milk production ceases, the involution of the thymus gland, and atrophy of the tissues after their denervation. In these cases, the shift of pH in acid side in the cells of these organs occurs due to reduced blood flow and corresponding
reduction of oxidative processes. When protein-energy malnutrition or starvation A. in some organs, especially the liver, may occur in connection with a sharp decrease in protein synthesis.