The Histochemical Journal

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 681–692 | Cite as

Chromatin changes in apoptosis

  • A. H. Wyllie
  • G. J. Beattie
  • A. D. Hargreaves
Reviews and Papers


Murine lymphoid cell lines and rat thymocytes treatedin vitro with glucocorticoid hormones provide a convenient system for studying the nuclear changes in apoptosis. Morphologically the nucleolus disintegrates and chromatin undergoes an unusual, generalized condensation. This is associated with excision of most of the nuclear. DNA to short but well-organized chains of nucleosomes, apparently by an endogenous non-lysosomal nuclease. The process is dependent upon macromolecular synthesis and probably is mediated, at least remotely, by the classical steroid-receptor-gene activation pathway. A similar process of chromatin condensation and excision can be produced by the calcium-magnesium ionophore A23187. In other circumstances of programmed cell death', analogous chromatin condensation, excision and requirements for macromolecular synthesis have been documented.


Cell Death Glucocorticoid Programme Cell Death Activation Pathway Lymphoid Cell 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Chapman and Hall Ltd. 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. H. Wyllie
    • 1
  • G. J. Beattie
    • 1
  • A. D. Hargreaves
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PathologyUniversity Medical SchoolEdinburghU.K.

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