the Greek word “falling off”) is a term that was first introduced by the
pathologists Kerr, Wyllie and Currie to describe the process by which a cell
induces its own death. This process is crucial for the maintenance of healthy
tissues since it prevents the growth of damaged cells and allows the body to
remove any potential dangerous cells (Elmore 2007). It also balances cell
division, thus inhibiting tissues from growing or decreasing in size (Alberts 2002).
Cell death through apoptosis is mediated by a series of proteases that cleave
key proteins inside the cell such as the nuclear lamins. The proteases promote
the activation of a DNase which is able to cut the DNA allowing the cell to
disassemble without damaging any of the neighboring cells (Alberts 2002).