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Cell Calcium. 1998 Feb-Mar;23(2-3):173-80.

The role of calcium in apoptosis.

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Department of Molecular Toxicology, Faculty of Biology, University of Konstanz, Germany.


One general signalling mechanism used to transfer the information delivered by agonists into appropriate intracellular compartments involves the rapid redistribution of ionised calcium throughout the cell, which results in transient elevations of the cytosolic free Ca2+ concentration. Various physiological stimuli increase [Ca2+]i transiently and, thereby, induce cellular responses. However, under pathological conditions, changes of [Ca2+]i are generally more pronounced and sustained. Marked elevations of [Ca2+]i activate hydrolytic enzymes, lead to exaggerated energy expenditure, impair energy production, initiate cytoskeletal degradation, and ultimately result in cell death. Such Ca(2+)-induced cytotoxicity may play a major role in several diseases, including neuropathological conditions such as chronic neurodegenerative diseases and acute neuronal losses (e.g. in stroke).

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