Autophagy: How Your Body Renews Itself

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.

06:49

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: (0:17)

  • 2

    When killer T-cells go through their training process, only a quarter survives. (3:17)

  • 3

    Billions of antibodies flood into infections, disabling by bacteria by latching onto them. (5:15)

Your Body's Real Age

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

03:09

from Skunk Bear: Science From NPR

What Happens When You Stop Eating?

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

See all

Climatology

Fruits

Paleontology

Phobia

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