Dissecting the "end game": clinical relevance, molecular mechanisms and laboratory assessment of apoptosis

Hung, Ryan W. Y.; Chow, Anthony W.
December 2004
Clinical & Investigative Medicine;Dec2004, Vol. 27 Issue 6, p324
Academic Journal
Background: Apoptosis, the process of cell death, is a complex subject. In this review we highlight recent developments in the regulation and dysregulation of apoptosis in health and disease and summarize common laboratory techniques used to assess the process. Methods: We accessed MEDLINE publications within the past 10 years, that reported on the clinical relevance, molecular mechanisms and laboratory assessment of apoptosis. Principal findings: Apoptosis is a physiological event essential for normal biologic processes at all stages of life, including embryogenesis, tissue remodelling, cell turnover, reproduction and regulation of immune responses. Dysregulation of apoptosis, either excessive or inadequate, features prominently in the pathophysiology of many diseases, ranging from congenital anomalies to degenerative disorders, ischemic and reperfusion injury, chronic inflammatory or autoimmune diseases, certain infections and malignant disease. Conclusion: Improved understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying apoptosis and its laboratory assessment is critical for reversing the pathophysiological processes associated with dysregulation of apoptosis.


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