Genetic Background of Apoptosis and Malignant Lymphocyte Growth

  • H.-Harald Sedlacek
  • Tarik Möröy


  • The term apoptosis was proposed for a “mechanism of controlled cell deletion, which appears to play a complementary but opposite role to mitosis in the regulation of animal cell populations” (Kerr et al. 1972).

  • Both apoptosis and cell proliferation are controlled by a network of genes. Result of this control is the balance between the rate of cell division and the rate of cell death.

  • Uncontrolled growth observed in malignant tumors may be caused by cell populations increasing their rate of proliferation, decreasing their rate of cell death or both (Barr et al. 1994).

  • Apoptosis plays a central role in the normal immune system. It occurs during lymphocyte and T-cell development as well as at later stages, after the interaction of lymphocytes with target antigens. Aberrant apoptosis induced by an imbalance in the activation of genes or by infectious organisms may be an essential cause either for malignant lymphocyte growth, for immune suppression or for autoimmune diseases.

  • Uncontrolled apoptosis in population of nonproliferating, long-lived terminally differentiated cell types may be the pathophysiological pathway of many neurodegenerative and heart diseases.


Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Ataxia Telangiectasia Differentiate Cell Type Normal Immune System Transcriptional Control Element 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • H.-Harald Sedlacek
    • 1
  • Tarik Möröy
    • 2
  1. 1.Strategische Planung TherapeutikaBehringwerke AGMarburgGermany
  2. 2.Institut für Molekularbiologie und TumorforschungMarburgGermany

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