Welcome to our website

Welcome to our website on cell death, Our aim in this website is to provide information about cell death and its different types. By mainly concentrating on necrosis and apoptosis and their mechanism, and highlighting some examples of human diseases that occur due to dysregulation in these mechanisms. Also by providing details on some current researches being carried out that can lead to the provision of treatment for these diseases.

    

An introduction to Cell Death

Cell death is a very important biological phenomenon which occurs through out the life of a multicellular organisms from embryogenesis, during development and even in adulthood. Cell death can either be due to a passive, degenerative process or a consequence of an active process.

The passive degenerative cell death can be refered to as necrosis, which is a consequence of gross injury to the cell. The active process is refered to as apoptosis and it is the main form of programmed cell death. It occurs to remove either superfluous, infected, transformed or damaged cells by activation of an intrinsic suicide program. Apoptosis is more of a programmed cell death, organised in such a way that the reminant of dead cells are engulfed by phagocytes as shown in the image below.

      

                                   

This image illustrates apoptotic cell death, and organised phagocytosis of dead cell remains. Image in courtesy of http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Apoptosis.png?uselang=en-gb

During development, the occurence of cell death is an important criteria in order to get rid of unwanted cells and allow the cells needed to grow and differentiate into their destined fate. For example, a developing human embryo starts with webbed limbs, but as cell death occurs later during embryogenesis,  these web cells are degraded so that the hands can develop normally. Also during neuron and synaptic formation, neurons that are unable to form synapses are eliminated of by cell death.

In adult organisms, cell death occurs in a well regulated manner. Any disruption of this highly organised cell death regulation can lead to a disease in the adult organism which might be due to inhibition of apoptotic cascades or increased levels of cell death. For instance, some diseases such as neurodegeneration occurs due to an increase in the levels of cell death, while others like cancers occurs due to a decrease or inhibition of cell death.

The banner image shows hepatocytes undergoing cell death. Image in courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ballooning_degeneration_high_mag_cropped.jpg. Some rights reserved.