Apoptosis and autoimmune disease
- Keith Elkon, MD
Keith Elkon, MD
- Mannik-Henderson Professor of Medicine
- Head, Division of Rheumatology
- University of Washington
Apoptosis refers to cell death that occurs in a programmed manner, is characterized by cellular condensation, and is noninflammatory. By all of these criteria, it differs from necrosis, which is often referred to as “accidental” or pathologic death and which is accompanied by cell swelling and inflammation.
Apoptosis plays a pivotal role in the following processes [1,2]:
●Morphogenesis and tissue remodeling during embryonic development
●Cell death associated with homeostasis (eg, immune system, lungs, gastrointestinal tract)
●Elimination of immune effector cells that proliferate in response to activation (eg, by microbial infection)
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