2. A form of cell death necessary to make way for new cells and to remove cells whose DNA has been damaged to the point at which cancerous change is liable to occur.
3. The process by which cells naturally self-destruct in the body, also known as "programmed cell death".
4. Etymology: formed from the Greek prefix apo-, “off, from, away; at an extreme”; and is linked to the Greek ptosis, “a falling in" or "falling upon (something)”; which appears as a word by itself in medical language for a prolapse and in a few other rather rare compounds, including Samuel Becket’s panpygoptosis for "Duck’s disease".
More about apoptosis
Apoptosis is a form of cell death in which a programmed sequence of events leads to the elimination of cells without releasing harmful substances into the surrounding area.
It plays a crucial role in developing and maintaining health by eliminating old cells, unnecessary cells, and unhealthy cells. The human body replaces perhaps a million cells a second. Too little or too much apoptosis plays a role in a great many diseases.
When programmed cell death does not work properly, cells that should be eliminated may hang around and become immortal; for example, in cancer and leukemia. When apoptosis works overly well, it kills too many cells and inflicts grave tissue damage. This is the case in strokes and neurodegenerative disorders; such as, Alzheimer, Huntington, and Parkinson diseases.
Apoptosis is also called "programmed cell death" or "cell suicide". Strictly speaking, the term apoptosis refers only to the structural changes cells go through, and programmed cell death refers to the complete underlying process, but the terms are often used interchangeably.