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An Official Publication of the Indian Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathologists

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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 299-300

Ultrastructural changes in cell death

1 Dental Care and Research Center, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Oral Pathology, Sri Siddhartha Dental College, Sri Siddhartha Academy of Higher Education, Tumakuru, Karnataka, India

Date of Submission12-Jul-2017
Date of Acceptance27-Jul-2017
Date of Web Publication18-Aug-2017

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jomfp.JOMFP_137_17

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How to cite this article:
Charan Gowda B K, Kokila G. Ultrastructural changes in cell death. J Oral Maxillofac Pathol 2017;21:299-300

How to cite this URL:
Charan Gowda B K, Kokila G. Ultrastructural changes in cell death. J Oral Maxillofac Pathol [serial online] 2017 [cited 2022 Aug 13];21:299-300. Available from: https://www.jomfp.in/text.asp?2017/21/2/299/213184

Necrotic cell death or necrosis is characterized morphologically by gain in cell volume, swelling of organelles, plasma membrane rupture and subsequent loss of intracellular contents.[1],[2]

Although various alterations in organelles and cellular processes are considered in necrotic cell death, exact correlation between them is not yet drawn. Some of the changes considered include as follows.[2],[3],[4]

  • Mitochondrial alterations – uncoupling, production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), nitroxidative stress by nitric oxide or similar compounds and mitochondrial membrane permeabilization often controlled by cyclophilin D
  • Lysosomal changes – ROS production by Fenton reactions, lysosomal membrane permeabilization
  • Nuclear changes – hyperactivation of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 and concomitant hydrolysis of NAD+
  • Lipid degradation following activation of phospholipases, lipoxygenases and sphingomyelinases
  • Increase in the cytosolic concentration of calcium that results in mitochondrial overload and activation of noncaspase proteases calpains and cathepsins.

  • Following cell death, various morphologic changes occur within cell which can be initially noted at microscopic level, which later becomes manifested as gross changes.[5] With the help of transmission electron microscopy, the intracellular changes in the oral epithelial cell following cell death in postmortem tissues were demonstrated.

  • At 0–2 h – The cell was intact with no changes in cytoplasmic membrane and cellular organelles [Figure 1]a,[Figure 1]b,[Figure 1]c
    Figure 1: (a) High power showing intact cell Junction (CJ) (98000). (b) Intact nucleus (N), mitochondria (Mt), Golgi apparaturs (G) and glycogen particles (Gly). (c) No changes found in nucleus (N), rough endoplasmic reticululm (RER) (49000)

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  • At 12th h – The epithelial cell showed nuclear, cytoplasmic and mitochondrial vacuolation, while the cell junction was found to be intact [Figure 2]a and [Figure 2]b
    Figure 2: (a) Nuclear (Nu) and cytoplasmic (Cyt) vacuolatin (Vac) and intact cell junction (CJ) (13,000). (b) Mitochondrial vacuolation (Mt Vac) (30,000)

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  • At 24th h – The cell showed increased cytoplasmic vacuolation, intact nucleus and intercellular junction, while there was enlargement of mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum [Figure 3]a and [Figure 3]b
    Figure 3: (a) Cell showing vacuolation (Vac) and intact intercellular junction (ICJ) (9300). (b) Cell showing nucleus (Nu) enlarged mitochondria (Mt) and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) (18,500)

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  • At 36th h – Intracellular organelles were not discernible [Figure 4].
    Figure 4: Intracellular details not discernible

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    Conflicts of interest

    There are no conflicts of interest.

       References Top

    Golstein P, Kroemer G. Cell death by necrosis: Towards a molecular definition. Trends Biochem Sci 2007;32:37-43.  Back to cited text no. 1
    Kroemer G, Galluzzi L, Vandenabeele P, Abrams J, Alnemri ES, Baehrecke EH, et al. Classification of cell death: Recommendations of the Nomenclature Committee on Cell Death 2009. Cell Death Differ 2009;16:3-11.  Back to cited text no. 2
    Nicotera P, Bernassola F, Melino G. Nitric oxide (NO), a signaling molecule with a killer soul. Cell Death Differ 1999;6:931-3.  Back to cited text no. 3
    Nicotera P, Melino G. Regulation of the apoptosis-necrosis switch. Oncogene 2004;23:2757-65.  Back to cited text no. 4
    Kumar V, Abbas AK, Fausto N, Robbins and Cotran Pathologic basis of Disease. 7th edition, New Delhi: Elsevier, 2004. p. 3-46.  Back to cited text no. 5


      [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4]


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