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Anita, H. P. Sharma, Paras Jain and Patnaik Amit


The process of apoptosis or programmed cell death is characterized by distinct morphological characteristics and energy-dependent biochemical mechanisms. It is an intrinsic cell-suicide programme which ensures proper development by maintaining tissue homeostasis and safeguarding the organism by getting rid of damaged or infected cells that may interfere with normal function. Apoptosis is a vital component of various processes including normal cell turnover, hormone-dependent atrophy, proper development and functioning of the immune system, chemical-induced cell death and embryonic development. Dysregulation of apoptotic signalling and inappropriate apoptosis (either too little or too much) is a factor in many diseases including neurodegenerative diseases, autoimmune disorders and many types of cancer. The ability to modulate the life or death of a cell is recognized for its immense therapeutic potential. Therefore, research continues to focus on the elucidation and analysis of the cell cycle machinery and signaling pathways that control cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. The objective of this review is to provide a general overview /comprehensive information of current knowledge on the process of apoptosis including morphology, biochemistry, mechanism, regulation and the role of apoptosis in health and disease, as well as a discussion of potential alternative forms of apoptosis.

Keywords: Apoptosis, programmed cell death, intrinsic/extrinsic pathway, cancer, pathogenesis.

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