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For a long time apoptosis has been considered the only type of programmed cell death responsible for the maintenance of homeostasis in the organism. However, the results of studies, which have been carried out for the last years, prove that depending on its type, the cell can be guided in different directions, which can result either in its survival or death. According to the NCCD Committee, apoptosis and autophagy are ranked as two types of cell death. The cell death, depending on its localization and its mechanism, has been divided into several subtypes and newly recognized types, such as: mitotic catastrophe, anoikosis, paraptosis, degeneration of Wallerian, entosis and cornification. This review was mainly focused on the characterization of mentioned processes with special attention paid to apoptosis, autophagy and detection methods. Moreover, a different view on the connections between programmed and unprogrammed cell death has been presented. The detection methods concerning different types of cell death in general can be divided into microscopic methods that allow the observation of typical morphological changes, and biochemical methods, based on the detection of extracellular and intracellular indicators. In spite of many available detection techniques, the distinction between particular types of cell death, both programmed and unprogrammed, often becomes impossible. For that reason, the NCCD Committee recommended to apply at least two detection methods (for example: microscopic and biochemical). Nevertheless, there are findings which suggest that many types of cell death should rather be considered as its stages and should not be divided into different processes.

The Editorial Board
Andrzej Łukaszyk - przewodniczący, Zofia Bielańska-Osuchowska, Szczepan Biliński, Mieczysław Chorąży, Aleksander Koj, Włodzimierz Korochoda, Leszek Kuźnicki, Aleksandra Stojałowska, Lech Wojtczak

Editorial address:
Katedra i Zakład Histologii i Embriologii Uniwersytetu Medycznego w Poznaniu, ul. Święcickiego 6, 60-781 Poznań, tel. +48 61 8546453, fax. +48 61 8546440, email:

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