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Apoptosis, or programmed cell death, is a normal component of the development and health of multicellular organisms. Cells die in response to a variety of stimuli and during apoptosis they do so in a controlled, regulated fashion. This makes apoptosis distinct from another form of cell death called necrosis in which uncontrolled cell death leads to lysis of cells, inflammatory responses and, potentially, to serious health problems. Apoptosis, by contrast, is a process in which cells play an active role in their own death (which is why apoptosis is often referred to as cell suicide).

Upon receiving specific signals instructing the cells to undergo apoptosis a number of distinctive changes occur in the cell. A family of proteins known as caspases are typically activated in the early stages of apoptosis. This is followed by distinctive changes in the morphology of the cells including cell shrinkage and blebbing, chromatin condensation and fragmentation and finally phagocytosis of the apoptotic bodies by macrophages.

In this webinar I will give an overview of the apoptotic process including stimuli responsible for apoptosis and the biochemical and morphological changes that occur. I will discuss the differences between apoptosis and necrosis and the various methods and techniques that can be used to detect apoptosis.
 


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