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Int J Radiat Biol. 1990 Nov;58(5):845-58.

Cell death induced in a murine mastocytoma by 42-47 degrees C heating in vitro: evidence that the form of death changes from apoptosis to necrosis above a critical heat load.

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Department of Pathology, University of Queensland Medical School, Herston, Australia.


The pathogenesis of heat-induced cell death is controversial. Categorizing the death occurring after various heat loads as either apoptosis or necrosis might help to elucidate this problem, since it has been shown that these two processes differ in their mode of initiation as well as in their morphological and biochemical features. Log-phase cultures of mastocytoma P-815 x 2.1 were heated at temperatures ranging from 42 to 47 degrees C for 30 min. After 42 degrees C heating a slight increase in apoptosis was observed morphologically. However, after heating at 43, 43.5 and 44 degrees C, there was marked enhancement of apoptosis, and electrophoresis of DNA showed characteristic internucleosomal cleavage. With heating at 45 degrees C both apoptosis and necrosis were enhanced, whereas at 46 and 47 degrees C only necrosis was produced. DNA extracted from the 46 and 47 degrees C cultures showed virtually no degradation, which contrasts with the random DNA breakdown observed in necrosis produced by other types of injury; lysosomal enzymes released during heat-induced necrosis may be inactivated at the higher temperatures. It is suggested that apoptosis following heating may be triggered either by a limited increase in cytosolic calcium levels resulting from mild membrane changes or by DNA damage. Necrosis, on the other hand, is likely to be a consequence of severe membrane disruption.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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