Apoptosis and necrosis
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28-10-2010, 05:09 PM

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Apoptosis and necrosis

Cell death
• Cells die by one of two mechanisms – necrosis or
• Two physiologically different processes
– Necrosis – death by injury
– Apoptosis – death by suicide
• Apoptosis and necrosis have different characteristics


• Death by accident
• Associated with nonphysiological circumstances that
disrupt cellular homeostasis (eg., ischemia, hypoxia and
• Necrosis is caused by membrane dissolution (osmotic lysis,
shear stress, pore-forming proteins, loss of ATP)
• Necrosis is bad because cellular material (including
degradative enzymes) is released into surrounding tissue
• Affects contiguous groups of cell
• Necrosis usually causes inflammatory reaction
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22-02-2011, 12:16 PM

Necrosis begins with an impairment of the cell’s ability to maintain homeostasis, leading
to an influx of water and extracellular ions. Intracellular organelles, most notably the
mitochondria, and the entire cell swell and rupture (cell lysis). Due to the ultimate breakdown
of the plasma membrane, the cytoplasmic contents including lysosomal enzymes
are released into the extracellular fluid. Therefore, in vivo, necrotic cell death is often
associated with extensive tissue damage resulting in an intense inflammatory response5.
Apoptosis, in contrast, is a mode of cell death that occurs...........

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