Apoptosis and Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes

  • Richard C. Duke


Apoptosis is a mode of cell death that occurs under normal physiological conditions. In vivo, it is most often found during normal tissue turnover, embryogenesis, metamorphosis, and endocrine-dependent tissue atrophy (Kerr et al., 1972; Wyllie et al., 1980). The inference has been made that cell death in these instances is “programmed,” meaning that it is a normal function of the cell, tissue, or organ. This has led some investigators to use the terms apoptosis and programmed cell death (PCD) interchangeably, although it is becoming apparent that there are examples of PCD which are not apoptotic and examples of apoptosis which are not truly programmed (Cohen, 1991; Cohen et al., 1992). Nevertheless, the fact that the morphological and biochemical changes associated with apoptosis are highly conserved in various cell types and systems suggests that an apoptotic mechanism (cell death program) exists in all cells that can be activated under the appropriate physiological conditions.


Target Cell Membrane Granule Exocytosis Nuclear Damage Serine Esterase Lytic Granule 
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© Birkhäuser Boston 1993

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  • Richard C. Duke

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