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FASEB J. 1995 Feb;9(2):219-28.

Calcium-mediated cell injury and cell death.

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Department of Pathology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore 21201, USA.


The effect of intracellular ion deregulation, particularly of [Ca2+], on the events following acute cell injury and the progression of change from initiation (reversible) to maintenance (reversible-irreversible) phases and finally to cell death has been the major thrust of experimentation in our laboratory for over 20 years. Cell death, which plays an important role in both normal and pathological phenomena, has been classified into two principal types, accidental and programmed. Recent exploration of programmed cell death (or apoptosis) has revealed extensive data showing it is an important mechanism for the normal maintenance and also differentiation of a variety of cell types and organs. From the results from our laboratory and those of others, we continue to expand and refine our working hypothesis: deregulation of [Ca2+] results in a number of phenomena from activation of signaling mechanisms and alterations in cellular structure to alterations in gene expression, all of which contribute to or play a critical role in cellular toxicity, including carcinogenesis and cell death. Therefore, although much more experimentation is needed to clarify some of these phenomena, the implications of such data for understanding the mechanisms and processes involved in carcinogenesis and the chemotherapeutic killing of cancer cells are extremely exciting. These relationships between [Ca2+], cell injury, and cell death are briefly reviewed here within the framework of our hypothesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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