Regulation of the apoptosis-necrosis switch

Pierluigi Nicotera, Gerry Melino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Execution of the apoptotic program involves a relatively limited number of pathways. According to a general view, these would converge to activate the caspase family of proteases. However, there is increasing evidence that apoptotic-like features can also be found when caspases are inhibited. Moreover, under pathological conditions, apoptosis and nonapoptotic death paradigms are often interwined, which suggest that, in vivo, cells may use diverging execution pathways. Molecular switches between apoptosis and necrosis include adenosine triphosphate-dependent steps in the activation of caspases or steps sensitive to reactive oxygen/nitrogen species. In turn, caspase activation can cause necrosis by promoting ion overload.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2757-2765
Number of pages9
Issue number16 REV. ISS. 2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 12 2004


  • Apoptosis
  • ATP
  • Necrosis
  • Neurons
  • Nitric oxide
  • NO

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research
  • Genetics


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