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Simplified scheme of the catabolic side of the metabolism.

Catabolism ( Greek καταβολισμός , katabolismós , originally "resignation, loss of strength") is the removal of metabolic products of complex to simple molecules to detox called the organism and to produce energy. It is connected to anabolism through the energy coupling: The energy gained here is used to build complex molecules. Anabolism and catabolism are parts of metabolism ( metabolism ).


Catabolic and anabolic reactions do not take place simultaneously in the cell. This is guaranteed, among other things, by the fact that the enzymes of a catabolic branch of the metabolic pathway ( glycogen breakdown, lipolysis ) are activated by a kinase activity and inactivated by a phosphatase activity, while those of the anabolic branch (glycogen or fat synthesis) are activated by kinases inactivated and activated by phosphatases. The phosphorylation of the enzymes regulates the activity.

Catabolism is the body's adequate response to exercise. Since the body is its own energy carrier, a certain amount of stress is inevitably associated with the destruction of body substance.


In the context of atrophy (e.g. flaccid muscle paralysis ) or acute necrosis (e.g. heart attack , stroke ), increased catabolism takes place, whereas it is reduced in the case of doping or physiological growth .

See also


  • Georg Fuchs, Thomas Eitinger, Hans Günter Schlegel: General microbiology. Georg Thieme, 2007, ISBN 9783134446081 , p. 504ff.