Apoptosis ( /ˌæpəˈtoʊsɪs/) is the process of programmed cell death (PCD) that may occur in multicellular organisms. Biochemical events lead to characteristic cell changes (morphology) and death. These changes include blebbing, cell shrinkage, nuclear fragmentation, chromatin condensation, and chromosomal DNA fragmentation. (See also apoptotic DNA fragmentation.)

In contrast to necrosis, which is a form of traumatic cell death that results from acute cellular injury, apoptosis, in general, confers advantages during an organism's life cycle. For example, the differentiation of fingers and toes in a developing human embryo occurs because cells between the fingers apoptose; the result is that the digits are separate. Unlike necrosis, apoptosis produces cell fragments called apoptotic bodies that phagocytic cells are able to engulf and quickly remove before the contents of the cell can spill out onto surrounding cells and cause damage.

Between 50 and 70 billion cells die each day due to apoptosis in the average human adult. For an average child between the ages of 8 and 14, approximately 20 billion to 30 billion cells die a day.

Research in and around apoptosis has increased substantially since the early 1990s. In addition to its importance as a biological phenomenon, defective apoptotic processes have been implicated in an extensive variety of diseases. Excessive apoptosis causes atrophy, whereas an insufficient amount results in uncontrolled cell proliferation, such as cancer.

Read more about Apoptosis:  Discovery and Etymology, Process, Pathway Knock-outs, Plants, Caspase Independent Apoptosis, Apoptosis Protein Subcellular Location Prediction

Other articles related to "apoptosis":

Fragmentation (cell Biology) - Apoptosis
... Apoptosis refers to the demise of cells by programmed cell death, marked by a well-defined sequence of morphological changes ... phagocytosis by neighboring cells characterize the main morphological changes in the apoptosis process ... Extensive morphological and biochemical changes during apoptosis ensure that dying cells leave minimal impact on neighboring cells and/or tissues ...
... Apoptosis-inducing factor 2 is a protein that in humans is encoded by the AIFM2 gene ... encoded by this gene has significant homology to NADH oxidoreductases and the apoptosis-inducing factor PDCD8/AIF ... Overexpression of this gene has been shown to induce apoptosis ...
Mitochondrial Apoptosis-induced Channel
... The Mitochondrial Apoptosis-Induced Channel (or MAC), is an early marker of the onset of apoptosis ... of the Bcl-2 protein family regulate apoptosis by controlling the formation of MAC the pro-apoptotic members Bax and/or Bak form MAC, whereas the anti-apoptotic members like Bcl-2 or Bcl-xL prevent MAC ... by its pharmacological inhibition, the end result is prevention of cytochrome c release and apoptosis ...
... of c-Jun in cellular proliferation and apoptosis of the endometrium throughout the menstrual cycle ... levels is significant in the proliferation and apoptosis of glandular epithelial cells ... expression of c-jun protein may prevent stromal cells from entering into apoptosis during the late secretory phase ...
Apoptosis Protein Subcellular Location Prediction
... In 2003, a method was developed for predicting subcellular location of apoptosis proteins Subsequently, various modes of Chou's pseudo amino acid composition were developed for ...