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August 12, 1905


JAMA. 1905;XLV(7):467. doi:10.1001/jama.1905.02510070035007

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It has been known for the last 15 years that animal tissues possess the power to break up the albumin molecule, independently of the action of the pepsin in the gastric juice and of the trypsin of the pancreatic juice. Salkowski, in 1890, proved that certain ferments in the liver and in the muscles, substances which could be extracted with water, are able to split up albumins with formation among other substances, of the two amino-acids—leucin and tyrosin. Salkowski spoke of the process as autodigestion, but the name autolysis, later proposed by Jacoby, is that which has been generally accepted. The latter author has been able to isolate the autolytic ferment by means of fractional out-salting. It has since been shown to exist in a whole series of organs, including the spleen, lymph glands, kidneys, lungs, stomach and thymus.

In order to demonstrate autolysis, the organ need not be washed;

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