Autophagy: How Your Body Renews Itself

The 2016 Nobel Prize for Medicine went to Yoshinori Ohsumi, a Japanese cell biologist who discovered how cells recycle their contents in a process known as autophagy. Greek for "self-eating," autophagy involves a cell breaking down its components—whether for extra energy or to get rid of damaged parts—and it happens during starvation, infection, and just general cellular housekeeping. Learn a more about how your body cleans house in the videos below.

The Immune System Explained

Autophagy plays an important role in your immune system.

Key Facts In This Video

  1. See the specific jobs of the cells of your immune system, and the complex ways they interact with each other: 00:17

  2. When killer T-cells go through their training process, only a quarter survives. 03:17

  3. Billions of antibodies flood into infections, disabling by bacteria by latching onto them. 05:15

Your Body's Real Age

Your cells are constantly being recycled, but not at the same rate.

What Happens When You Stop Eating?

Starvation is well known to cause autophagy. Here's what that looks like in reality.

Written by Curiosity Staff October 3, 2016

Curiosity uses cookies to improve site performance, for analytics and for advertising. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies, our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.