Regulated Cell Death

Regulated Cell Death (RCD) is a process in organisms that is essential for tissue homeostasis or to restore equilibrium following stress.  Accidental cell death (ACD) is a biologically uncontrolled process, whereas RCD involves tightly ordered signalling cascades and well defined effector mechanisms.   RCD functions to eliminate unnecessary or potentially dangerous cells and can be triggered by the release of materials from damaged cells which alert the organism to the potential threat.

 Apoptosis and autophagy are two major forms of programmed cell death. Apoptosis occurs after sufficient cellular damage but also occurs normally during development and aging and is considered a vital component of cell turnover, cell development and the immune system. Autophagy, while closely linked with apoptosis, is characterized by cellular break down of macromolecules in response to starvation or stress signals and is considered a catabolic process.

 Multiple cell death pathways have been defined according to morphological, biochemical and functional aspects, including apoptosis, autophagy, necrosis, necroptosis, pyroptosis, ferroptosis, entotic cell death, lysosome-dependent cell death, alkaliptosis, oxeiptosis, and netotic cell death.  The loss of control of RCD also contributes to human diseases such as cancer, neurodegeneration, autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases and many types of cancer.