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apoptosisApoptosis (ger.)

  • Death of individual cells, characterized by condensation and fragmentation of the nucleus and cytoplasm and usually followed by phagocytosis by other cells, typically occurring as a self-activated process involved in the regulation of cell numbers, as in normal development, and in the growth of tumours. (OED 2011)

    The term apoptosis is proposed for a hitherto little recognized mechanism of controlled cell deletion, which appears to play a complementary but opposite role to mitosis in the regulation of animal cell populations. Its morphological features suggest that it is an active, inherently programmed phenomenon, and it has been shown that it can be initiated or inhibited by a variety of environmental stimuli, both physiological and pathological.

    Kerr, J.F.R., Wyllie, A.H. & Currie, A.R. (1972). Apoptosis: a basic biological phenomenon with wider ranging implications in tissue kinetics. Brit. J. Cancer 26, 239-257: 239.

Sen, S. (1992). Programmed cell death: concept, mechanism and control. Biol. Rev. 67, 287-319.