Is apoptosis a clinically relevant concept in multiple organ dysfunction syndrome?

Greg J. Beilman, Terrence H. Liu, Jerome H. Abrams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Apoptosis, or programmed cell death, mediates a host of normal physiologic processes in the developing and the adult organism; these processes include embryogenesis, normal cell turnover, hormone-induced tissue atrophy, thymic cell involution, and tumor regression. In contrast to necrotic cell death, apoptosis occurs without the induction of inflammation. The factors controlling apoptosis within a single cell are complex and finely regulated, and apoptosis can be triggered or inhibited through numerous different pathways even within the same cell type. The role of apoptosis in the pathogenesis of various disease states is an area of active investigation. Apoptosis may contribute to multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS) through several different mechanisms. For example, apoptotic death of functional cells may decrease organ function, or the inhibition of neutrophil apoptosis may prolong inflammation. The study of apoptosis in the pathogenesis of MODS is in its early stages, and current evidence is based primarily on cell culture and small animal models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-277
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent opinion in critical care
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1996


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