Apoptosis



a normal, genetically regulated process leading to the death of cells and triggered by the presence or absence of certain stimuli, as DNA damage.
noun
(biology) the programmed death of some of an organism’s cells as part of its natural growth and development Also called programmed cell death
apoptosis
(āp’əp-tō’sĭs, āp’ə-tō’-)
A natural process of self-destruction in certain cells, such as epithelial cells and erythrocytes, that are genetically programmed to have a limited life span or are damaged. Apoptosis can be induced either by a stimulus, such as irradiation or toxic drugs, or by removal of a repressor agent. The cells disintegrate into membrane-bound particles that are then eliminated by phagocytosis. Also called programmed cell death.
apoptosis [(ap-uhp-toh-sis)]

The programmed death of a cell. Scientists believe that this process is governed by chemical signals a given cell receives from its neighbors.

Note: It is thought some forms of cancer may result when this process of cell death is somehow interrupted, allowing cells to grow unchecked, with the result being a cancerous tumor.

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