Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

Living Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan


  • Kathleen L. Fuchs
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-56782-2_528-2



Apoptosis is both a normal developmental process to rid the body of overproduced cells as well as a sign of pathology in mature neural systems. Apoptosis involves activation of caspases - proteins that cleave other proteins in order to inactivate or modulate them to trigger “pro-death” molecular pathways. The resulting cellular debris is then removed by microglia in the central nervous system. Abnormal protein cleavage and cell death has been implicated in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease as well as autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis.


References and Reading

  1. Hengartner, M. O. (2000). The biochemistry of apoptosis. Nature, 407, 770–776.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Yuan, J., & Yankner, B. A. (2000). Apoptosis in the nervous system. Nature, 407, 802–809.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeurologyUniversity of Virginia Health SystemCharlottesvilleUSA