apoptosis

noun
ap·o·pto·sis | \ ˌa-pəp-ˈtō-səs , -pə-ˈtō- \
plural apoptoses\ˌa-pəp-ˈtō-ˌsēz, -pə-ˈtō- \

Definition of apoptosis 

: a genetically directed process of cell self-destruction that is marked by the fragmentation of nuclear DNA, is activated either by the presence of a stimulus or removal of a suppressing agent or stimulus, is a normal physiological process eliminating DNA-damaged, superfluous, or unwanted cells, and when halted (as by genetic mutation) may result in uncontrolled cell growth and tumor formation

called also cell suicide, programmed cell death

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Other words from apoptosis

apoptotic \-ˈtä-tik \ adjective

Examples of apoptosis in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Along with colleagues, the pair focused on a core challenge: how to coax myofibroblasts to self-destruct, a cellular process called apoptosis. Jennifer Couzin-frankel, Science | AAAS, "Pushing cells to self-destruct combats deadly fibrosis," 13 Dec. 2017 These proteins can both induce or prevent apoptosis, and the team suspected that the balance between these proteins was disrupted in the overactive myofibroblasts. Jennifer Couzin-frankel, Science | AAAS, "Pushing cells to self-destruct combats deadly fibrosis," 13 Dec. 2017 These impostors could then be used to dupe overactive immune cells into believing that apoptosis rather than necrosis was taking place. The Economist, "Molecular biologyFaking cellular suicide could help control inflammation," 14 Sep. 2017 Unlike necrosis, the leftovers of apoptosis are mostly tolerated by the immune system. The Economist, "Molecular biologyFaking cellular suicide could help control inflammation," 14 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'apoptosis.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of apoptosis

1972, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for apoptosis

New Latin, from Greek apoptōsis a falling off, from apopiptein to fall off, from apo- + piptein to fall — more at feather

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The first known use of apoptosis was in 1972

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apoptosis

noun
ap·o·pto·sis | \ ˌa-pəp-ˈtō-səs, -pə-ˈtō- \
plural apoptoses\-ˌsēz \

Medical Definition of apoptosis 

: a genetically determined process of cell self-destruction that is marked by the fragmentation of nuclear DNA, is activated either by the presence of a stimulus or by the removal of a stimulus or suppressing agent, is a normal physiological process eliminating DNA-damaged, superfluous, or unwanted cells (as immune cells targeted against the self in the development of self-tolerance or larval cells in amphibians undergoing metamorphosis), and when halted (as by genetic mutation) may result in uncontrolled cell growth and tumor formation

called also cell suicide, programmed cell death

Other words from apoptosis

apoptotic \-ˈtät-ik \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on apoptosis

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about apoptosis

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