Detecting Apoptosis, Autophagy, and Necrosis

Part of the Methods in Pharmacology and Toxicology book series (MIPT)


There are many commercially available kits to identify specific types of cell death, but at the present time, there is no simple assay that can distinguish apoptosis, necrosis, and autophagy. Autophagy and apoptosis are highly conserved processes that maintain organism and cellular homeostasis. They are also prime targets for the design of tumor therapeutics. Apoptosis is a highly regulated process involved in removing unwanted or unhealthy cells. Autophagy is a metabolic process, in which proteins and organelles are targeted for degradation in the lysosome. Necrosis is initiated by external factors, such as toxins, infection, or trauma, and results in the unregulated digestion of cell components. We discuss the tools we have developed for a simple protocol for detecting apoptosis or necrosis, as well as a simple technique for detecting autophagy. We discuss the potential pitfalls of the methods, suggest guidelines for designing experiments, and describe step by step protocols to identify apoptotic, necrotic and autophagic cell death of any cell line in response to effector.

Key words

Autophagy Apoptosis Necrosis Cell death Annexin V Phospholipidosis 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ENZO Life SciencesFarmingdaleUSA

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