To be or not to be at the cellular level: importance of apoptosis
Apoptosis is a form of programmed cell death carried out in a series of highly organised biological processes: numerous biochemical changes triggered by cell death signals ultimately lead a cell to commit suicide.
Apoptosis in cell lifespan
Morphological changes which affect cells include:
- Cell blebbing
- Cell shrinkage
- Nuclear DNA fragmentation
- Chromatin condensation.
The whole process ends by the cell literally eating itself without a trace of inflammation, which is a hallmark of necrosis, a form of non-programmed cell death.
Each day adults lose between 50 and 70 billion cells due to apoptosis, while children lose approximately 20 – 30 billion cells per day.
Apoptosis and disease
It is evident that apoptosis is a highly important biological phenomenon. A defective apoptotic process, either over-activated or supressed, has been implicated in numerous human diseases and disorders, such as:
- Neurological disorders – Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, stroke
- Cardiovascular disorders – ischaemia, heart failure
- Infectious diseases – bacterial, viral
- Autoimmune diseases – systemic lupus erythematosus, autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroiditis.
Key apoptotic players
Over 50 years of fundamental research in the field of apoptosis has enabled the discovery of key apoptotic players implicated in the regulation/execution of that process as a warrant to the development of targeted therapeutic strategies.
Molecular targets belong to one of the following categories:
- Cell death receptors
- Bcl-2 proteins
Currently, there are several ongoing clinical and preclinical studies which include therapeutic approaches that target at least one key apoptotic player.
One interesting fact is that the induction of apoptosis is a hallmark of SARS-CoV-2 infection; thus, targeting virus-induced apoptosis could be a promising strategy in the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Other similar mechanisms
As a former researcher in the field of cell death, I know how challenging it can be to selectively eliminate targeted cells or selectively insure prevention of cell death. Moreover, apoptosis is not the only form of programmed cell death: autophagy, necroptosis, and mitoptosis are some of the other forms of programmed cell death, which are also implicated in the development of human diseases that share the same key players with apoptosis, but sometimes in a different context.
However, if you have resolved the cell-death continuum dilemma, and have at your disposal promising cell-death-based therapeutics, feel free to contact Mart Farm as a reliable partner which will support your product’s life cycle from its development to regulatory compliance.
Maja Antunović, PhD / Medical Writer & Medical Reviewer
1. Favaloro B, Allocati N, Graziano V, Di Ilio C, De Laurenzi V. Role of apoptosis in disease. Aging (Albany NY). 2012 May;4(5):330-49. doi: 10.18632/aging.100459. PMID: 22683550; PMCID: PMC3384434.
2. Fischer U, Schulze-Osthoff K. Apoptosis-based therapies and drug targets. Cell Death Differ. 2005 Aug;12 Suppl 1:942-61. doi: 10.1038/sj.cdd.4401556. PMID: 15665817.
3. Donia A, Bokhari H. Apoptosis induced by SARS-CoV-2: can we target it? Apoptosis. 2021 Feb;26(1-2):7-8. doi: 10.1007/s10495-021-01656-2. Epub 2021 Jan 29. PMID: 33512610; PMCID: PMC7844099.
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Full company name
Short company name
Marti Farm Ltd. Trade and Services
Marti Farm Ltd.
Lašćinska cesta 40, HR-10000 Zagreb
Planinska ulica 13/2, HR-10000 Zagreb
a limited liability company
Commercial Court of Zagreb
HRK 20,000.00 (paid in its entirety)
Martina Diminić Smetiško, director of the
company (Representing the company
individually and independently, Responsible
person for data protection)
HR3623600001102197724 (Zagrebačka banka)
HR4324020061100628669 (Erste banka)
Full company name: Marti Farm Ltd. Trade and Services
Short company name: Marti Farm Ltd.
Headquarters: Lašćinska cesta 40, HR-10000 Zagreb
Office: Planinska ulica 13/2, HR-10000 Zagreb
Legal form: a limited liability company
Court register: Commercial Court of Zagreb
Registration number: 080751121
Share capital: HRK 20,000.00 (paid in its entirety)
Authorized representative: Martina Diminić Smetiško, director of the company (Representing the company individually and independently, Responsible person for data protection)
Bank account: HR3623600001102197724 (Zagrebačka banka), HR4324020061100628669 (Erste banka)