Reactive oxygen species and apoptosis

  • Rüdiger von Harsdorf
Part of the Basic Science for the Cardiologist book series (BASC, volume 5)


There is an increasing body of evidence suggesting an important role of apoptosis for cardiac development and diseases. This is based on the observation that in animals and humans the ontogenesis of the normal heart is characterized by the appearance of apoptosis peaking in the perinatal period (1) and in specific regions of the heart (2). Furthermore, myocardial infarction has been shown to be associated with apoptosis in rats (3) and humans (4). Additionally, apoptosis is evident in the heart of patients suffering from certain conductance disturbances (2) as well as in human cardiomyopathies, including the arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplesia (5) and dilated cardiomyopathy (6). Those studies are important not only because of their proof of apoptotic cell death in yet another organ, but particularly because they let us understand that the capacity for apoptotic cell death exists in both mitotic cells and in post-mitotic cells. However, only little information exists regarding the identification of stimuli responsible for the induction of apoptosis in the heart.


Reactive Oxygen Species Vascular Smooth Muscle Cell Cardiac Fibroblast Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia VSMC Proliferation 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rüdiger von Harsdorf
    • 1
  1. 1.Humboldt-Universität zu BerlinBerlinGermany

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