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Int Rev Cytol. 2003;224:29-55.

Apoptosis and necrosis in health and disease: role of mitochondria.

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Department of Anatomy, Case Western Reserve University, School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.


Mitochondria play an important role in both the life and death of cells. Mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell, providing over 90% of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) consumed by the cell. Mitochondrial energy production, however, is disrupted in various pathological situations leading to cellular Injury. The mechanisms causing the injury are turning out to be more complex than originally expected. For instance, calcium, oxidant chemicals, ischemia/ reperfusion, and a range of other agents promote onset of the mitochondrial permeability transition in mitochondria from liver, heart, and other tissues. Often the consequence of this event is ATP depletion, ion deregulation, mitochondrial and cellular swelling, activation of degradative enzymes, plasma membrane failure, and cell lysis. This is referred to as necrotic cell death. The mitochondrial permeability transition is also involved in apoptotic cell death. In this mode of death, the role of the permeability transition is to release proapoptotic proteins from mitochondria into the cytosol where with the aid of cellular ATP they complete the apoptotic cascade. Therefore, mitochondria contribute to both apoptotic and necrotic death.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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