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Term: apoptosis

Origin:  Anc Greek
από/ apo(= from)
+ πτώσις/ptosis(= falling)
> dropping off or falling off of petals from flowers, or leaves from trees.

Coined: German scientist Carl Vogt was first to describe the principle of apoptosis in 1842 but the term was first attested by John Foxton Ross Kerr, Andrew Wyllie and Alastair R Currie in their article “Apoptosis: a basic biological phenomenon with wide-ranging implications in tissue kinetics” (Br J Cancer) in 1972 describing parameters of neoplastic growth. John Kerr's discovery, initially called apotosis as "shrinkage necrosis" but he later in the late 1960s renamed the term, when his attention was caught by a curious form of liver cell death during his studies of acute liver injury in rats. The co-authors Kerr, Wyllie and Currie credited James Cormack, a professor of Greek language at University of Aberdeen, with suggesting the term apoptosis. Kerr received the Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize on March 14, 2000, for his description of apoptosis.

Apoptosis is  the process of programmed cell death (PCD) and it is initiated by the cell itself. This process is under cellular control in order to eliminate cell number during embryonic development.  Apoptosis is distinguish from  process of cell necrosis  which is a form of death by exogenous factors as injury, disease or loss of blood supply.


Kerr JF, Wyllie AH, Currie AR. Apoptosis: a basic biological phenomenon with wide-ranging implications in tissue kinetics. . Br J Cancer. 1972 Aug;26(4):239-57.

1 comment:

  1. Hello,

    There are a number of mechanisms through which apoptosis can be induced in cells. Apoptosis, or programmed cell death, is a normal component of the development and health of multicellular organisms. Cells die in response to a variety of stimuli and during apoptosis they do so in a controlled, regulated fashion. Thanks.....