Cell death

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Cell death may happen normally or can occur in response to diseases and injury. Two major processes leading to cell death are apoptosis and necrosis. Apoptosis can be beneficial or fatal in cell cycle. Cells grow and divide when they receive external signals in form of growth factors. When a cell doesn’t receive a signal, it enters into a resting phase called G0 until when it is needed. If the cell does not receive any signal, it may remain in G0 or it may undergo apoptosis, which is as a 'programmed cell death'[1]. Cell apoptosis is aid by a protein called caspases which will breakdown the nucleus and cleave the cytoskeleton. Apoptosis is similar but different to necrosis, as they both involve a loss in body cells. Necrosis may occur in response to injury such as severe trauma and may lead to an uncontrolled breakdown of cell structure and thus, leads to an uncontrolled response[2]. Cells undergoing necrosis will 'swell and burst, spilling their contents over their neighbours and triggers an inflammatory response'[3]. Apoptosis is important for the formation of organs, tissues, tissue renewal or it may be due to a minor injury.

In response to apoptosis, a cell may shrink and this triggers phagocytosis where it is eaten up by another cell. Apoptosis can result to cancer[4]

References

  1. Walter F. Boron, Emile L. Boulpaep. (2008) Medical Physiology: a Cellular and Molecular Approach, 2nd revised edition, Philadelphia: Elsevier – Health Sciences Division
  2. Walter F. Boron, Emile L. Boulpaep. (2008) Medical Physiology: a Cellular and Molecular Approach, 2nd revised edition, Philadelphia: Elsevier – Health Sciences Division
  3. Alberts ,B., Johnson,A.,Lewis,J.,Raff,M.,Roberts,K.,Walter,P.(2008) 'Molecular Biology of The Cell' fifth ed.,Garland Science,New York, pp.1115-1128
  4. http://www.sgul.ac.uk/depts/immunology/~dash/apoptosis
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