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Apoptosis in health and disease 

Apoptosis in health and disease
Chapter:
Apoptosis in health and disease
Author(s):

Mark J. Arends

, and Christopher D. Gregory

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198746690.003.0034
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date: 02 March 2021

Apoptosis is the process by which single cells die in the midst of living tissues. It is responsible for most—perhaps all—of the cell death events that occur during the formation of the early embryo and the sculpting of organs. Apoptotic cell death continues to play a critical role in the maintenance of cell numbers in those tissues in which cell turnover persists into adult life, such as the epithelium of the gastrointestinal tract, the bone marrow, and lymphoid system including both B- and T-cell lineages. This chapter gives an overview of apoptosis in health and disease. Apoptosis appears in the reactions of many tissues to injury, including mild degrees of ischaemia, exposure to ionizing and ultraviolet radiation, or treatment with cancer chemotherapeutic drugs. Excessive or too little apoptosis play a significant part in the pathogenesis of autoimmunity, infectious disease, AIDS, stroke, myocardial disease, and cancer.

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