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Apoptosis or Necrosis?

as seen in Targeting Trends Newsletter, Jul-Aug-Sep 2008


Do targeted toxin-treated cells die by apoptosis?

There are, allegedly, two ways for cells to die: by apoptosis or necrosis. According to Fiorenzo Stirpe (the discoverer of saporin), saporin-intoxicated cells die both ways, some by one, others by the other.

There is a good literature that states that cells die by apoptosis, for instance:

Bergamaschi G, Perfetti V, et al. (1996). Saporin, a ribosome-inactivating protein used to prepare immunotoxins, induces cell death via apoptosis. Brit J Haemat 93:789-794.

Saporin and apoptosis gives 25 hits in PubMed.

However, Seeger et al., did not find evidence of apoptosis in an electron microscopy study with cells dying from 192-IgG-SAP and concluded they die from necrosis:

Seeger G, Hartig W, et al. (1997). Electron microscopic evidence for microglial phagocytotic activity and cholinergic cell death after administration of the immunotoxin 192IgG-saporin in rat. J Neurosci Res 48:465-476.

Saporin and necrosis gives 11 hits in PubMed.

So, saporin-treated cells seem to die by both apoptosis and necrosis. The customer is always right.

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