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August 1995

Differential Control of Cell Death in the Skin

Author Affiliations

Department of Dermatology University of Colorado School of Medicine 4200 E Ninth Ave Denver, CO 80262

Arch Dermatol. 1995;131(8):945-948. doi:10.1001/archderm.1995.01690200083016

THE RELATIONSHIP between life and death has challenged philosophers, writers and poets, and the theologians of all the world's great religions. It is now a subject of special interest to cell and molecular biologists as well. A major advance in biology has been the appreciation that life and death of individual cells are closely coordinated processes in the survival and adaption of multicellular organisms. Selective and controlled cell death is a dominant force in changing the cellular composition of complex organisms. Unwanted cells are eliminated during the normal course of differentiation of tissues, and also when cells are damaged by toxins, physical forces, infection, or exhaustion.1 The two major mechanisms of cell death are apoptosis and necrosis.2 Apoptosis is an active process in which a central biochemical ''program'' is activated, causing nuclear fragmentation, formation of a rigid apoptotic envelope, and shrinkage of the cell into small fragments that

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