Molecular Neurobiology

, 37:1 | Cite as

Cell Death in Brain Development and Degeneration: Control of Caspase Expression May Be Key!

  • Shane D. Madden
  • Thomas G. CotterEmail author

The study of apoptosis is classically linked to that of development, where developmental biologists noted that cell death occurred during the development of insects, amphibians, birds, and mammals [1, 2, 63] before the term apoptosis was even coined [3]. In this review, we specifically examine the involvement of apoptosis in the development of the brain as well as its involvement in neurodegeneration.

The initial discovery of the genes that control apoptosis occurred during a study of metazoan development. A genetic study of the development of the nematode worm, Caenorhabditis elegans, revealed that cell-death abnormality-3 (ced-3) was responsible for the programmed death of certain cells during the development of the worm [4]. This study was furthered by the demonstration that ced-3 was homologous to the mammalian cysteine protease interleukin-1β-converting enzyme (ICE) [5]. As increasing numbers of homologous mammalian cysteine proteases were identified, it was decided to name them...


Apoptosis Caspases Brain Development Neurodegeneration 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cell Development and Disease Laboratory, Department of Biochemistry, Biosciences InstituteUniversity CollegeCorkIreland

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