What is Apoptosis?

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What is Apoptosis? Blog Image


For the first time, scientists have described a special molecular mechanism of the early phases of programmed cell death, often known as apoptosis.

About Apoptosis:

  • It is the process of programmed cell death.
  • It is a mechanism that allows cells to self-destruct when stimulated by the appropriate trigger.
  • Process:
    • It involves condensation of the nucleus and cytoplasm, followed by cellular partitioning into well-defined fragments for disposal.
    • The damaged cells are disposed of in an orderly fashion.
  • It is used during early development to eliminate unwanted cells; for example, those between the fingers of a developing hand. 
  • In adults, apoptosis is used to rid the body of cells that have been damaged beyond repair and  have become a threat to survival. Such cells can include cancer cells or cells that are infected with bacteria or a virus.
  • Apoptosis also removes cells that are normal but no longer needed, such as cells that produce antibodies after the need for the antibody has passed.
  • Apoptosis can also be triggered in otherwise normal cells by external stimuli, including nutrient removal, toxins, hormones, heat, and radiation.
  • Too much apoptosis in an otherwise normal human being will result in a number of so-called neurodegenerative diseases where cells die when they're not supposed to die. 
  • It is estimated that a mass of cells equal to body weight is removed by apoptosis each year.


Q1) What is cell death?

Cell death refers to the event that leads to the death of a cell. The process entails the breaking down of cell structures. The death of a cell may be determined when it has completed a fixed number of division cycles or at some earlier stage when programmed to do so, as in digit separation in vertebrate limb morphogenesis.

Source: Researchers provide fresh information on the molecular mechanisms that stop the progression of cancer