<cell biology> Programmed cell death as signalled by the nuclei in normally functioning human and animal cells when age or state of cell health and condition dictates.

An active process requiring metabolic activity by the dying cell, often characterised by cleavage of the DNA into fragments that give a so called laddering pattern on gels.

Cells that die by apoptosis do not usually elicit the inflammatory responses that are associated with necrosis, though the reasons are not clear.

Cancerous cells, however, are unable to experience the normal cell transduction or apoptosis-driven natural cell death process.

See: ced mutant, bcl.

(18 Nov 1997)

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