Apoptosis

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Apoptosis

type of cell death in which a series of molecular steps in a cell lead to its death. This is one method the body uses to get rid of unneeded or abnormal cells. Apoptosis plays a crucial role in developing and maintaining the health of the body by eliminating old cells, unnecessary cells, and unhealthy cells. The human body replaces perhaps one million cells per second. Too little or too much apoptosis can play a role in many diseases. The process of apoptosis may be blocked in cancer cells. When apoptosis does not work correctly, cells that should be eliminated may persist and become immortal, for example, in cancer. When apoptosis works too well, it kills too many cells and inflicts severe tissue damage. This is the case in strokes and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's, Huntington's, and Parkinson's diseases. Also known as programmed cell death.

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