Dying Cells in Living Tissues
“For every cell, there is time to live and a time to die”. As important as cell division and cell migration, regulated or programmed cell death allows the organism to tightly control cell numbers and tissue size, and to protect itself from rogue cells that threaten homeostasis. When the interest of the cell demands the elimination of unwanted cells, then the cells commit suicide by the process called “Apoptosis”. However, interest in the subject was modest, and the conceptof physiological cell death did not receive widespread recognition until the publication of a seminal paper on apoptosis by Kerr and colleagues some 30 years ago. Apoptosis can be initiated through various signals via the extrinsic pathway which involves death receptors, or via the intrinsic pathway which is initiated by intracellular damage and involves the mitochondria and release of cytochrome c from it to further activate caspases. The pathogenesis of several diseases such as cancer, neurodegenerative disorders, autoimmune disorders, heart disease, and infectious diseases including AIDS is closely related to aberrant apoptosis. There are number of publications on apoptosis in different diseases, this article is an attempt to synoptically describe the apoptosis in health and different diseases.
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