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Ultrastruct Pathol. 1990 Nov-Dec;14(6):513-8.

Ultrastructural analysis of apoptosis induced by the monoclonal antibody anti-APO-1 on a lymphoblastoid B cell line.

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  • 1Department of Morphology and Ecology, University of Heidelberg, Federal Republic of Germany.


Apoptosis (programmed cell death) is the most common form of death in eukaryotic cells. We recently described a monoclonal antibody, anti-APO-1, which induces apoptosis of cells from the human B-lymphoblastoid line SKW 6.4 and of cells from a variety of other human lymphoid cell lines. This model of apoptosis was now studied ultrastructurally. SKW 6.4 cells undergoing apoptosis showed the following morphological changes: condensation of the cytoplasm and karyoplasm, formation of large electron-opaque aggregates of the chromatin lining the nuclear membrane, "blebbing" of the cell membrane at an early stage of apoptosis, and dilatation of the mitochondria. Two hours after adding anti-APO-1, the nuclear membrane was ruptured. Occasionally, large vesicular enlargement of endoplasmic reticulum or Golgi appeared in the cytoplasm. Finally, total breakdown of all cell membranes and cellular disintegration was observed.

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