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[aw-tol-uh-sis] /ɔˈtɒl ə sɪs/
noun, Biochemistry.
the breakdown of plant or animal tissue by the action of enzymes contained in the tissue affected; self-digestion.
Origin of autolysis
1900-05; auto-1 + -lysis
Related forms
[awt-l-it-ik] /ˌɔt lˈɪt ɪk/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for autolysis


the destruction of cells and tissues of an organism by enzymes produced by the cells themselves
Derived Forms
autolytic (ˌɔːtəˈlɪtɪk) adjective
Word Origin
C20: via German from Greek autos self + lusis loosening, release
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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autolysis in Medicine

autolysis au·tol·y·sis (ô-tŏl'ĭ-sĭs)

  1. The destruction of tissues or cells of an organism by the action of substances, such as enzymes, that are produced within the organism.

  2. Self-destruction of tissues within the living body. Also called autodigestion.

  3. The hemolytic action of blood serum or plasma upon its own cells. Also called autocytolysis.

au'to·lyt'ic (ô'tə-lĭt'ĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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