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Health, Medicine, Nursing
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Apoptosis (Term Paper Sample)

- References: Use journals within the past 5 years. DO NOT use textbooks - No quotations in the body @ source..
Name Instructor`s Name Course Number 23 June 2013 Apoptosis Multicellular organisms go through a process that is defined by PCD (programmed cell death) that is called apoptosis. Morphology (characteristic cellular changes) and death stem from biochemical events in the body. Some of these changes include DNA fragmentation, cell shrinkage, blebbing, condensation of the chromatin and nuclear fragmentations (Foghsgaard 2001). Unlike necrosis, which is a clear form of traumatic death of cells that have arisen from an acute form of injury to the cell, the process of apoptosis is beneficial to the life of an organism in general. Our fingers for example, differentiate into single digits because of this very process. Apoptotic bodies, a fragmentation of the cell are produced during the process and these bodies are engulfed by the phagocytes around the cellular environment therefore protecting the damage for spillage and damage. An average human adult experiences between 50 and 70 billion cell deaths due to apoptosis while an average child aged between 5 billion cell deaths per day, in the similar process. Apoptosis, however beneficial, has been implicated in several diseases including cancer. This is because there could become a form of defective growth that can lead to an uncontrolled proliferation of cells around an organ or tissue (Foghsgaard 2001). The Discovery and Etymology of Apoptosis The process of apoptosis was first defined by a scientist from Germany names Carl Vogt in 1842. However a more concise definition of the process was crafted by Walther Flemming when he described the process as one to include programmed cell death. In 1965 the topic resurrected and it was John Foxton who was able to distinguish between programmed cell death and traumatic cell death. In March 2000 the process of apoptosis got anew meaning when it was defined as natural cell death by Kerr and Paul Ehrlich and a Nobel was awarded for the extensive research that had been put into understanding and fighting cancer. The term apoptosis in Greek roughly translated gives the "dropping away of leaves from trees" meaning. In cancer treatment, radiation and chemotherapy primarily targets the cells to be killed through an induced form of apoptosis. Apoptosis: The Process This process has been established to be controlled by a number of signals from the cells that are either from within (intracellular) the cells or from outside (extracellular) the cells. Some of the external signals may range from hormones, to growth factors, toxins or cytokines that cross either the plasma membrane or transduction of the responses in the membrane. These signals trigger negative or positive effects on the process of apoptosis. Negative induction is the active inhibition of apoptosis where the process involves repression (Foghsgaard 2001). When an intracellular apoptotic signal is initiated, the result would be suicide. The release of the intracellular apoptot...
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