The process of programmed cell death or apoptosis has, in the decade preceding the publication of this 2005 book, been shown to be centrally involved in the pathogenesis of the significant majority of human illnesses and injury states. The cellular attrition observed in most degenerative conditions is apoptotic in nature; conversely a failure of apoptosis has been proposed to underlie many forms of cancer. The central role of apoptosis in human disease clearly brings with it clinical promise; for example, the strong possibility exists that attenuation of apoptotic death will significantly modulate the severity of degenerative disorders. Similarly, conditions, such as cancer, autoimmune disease, psoriasis and endometriosis, in which aberrant cellular proliferation is observed, may benefit from enhanced rates of apoptosis. This book surveys the underlying molecular mechanisms of apoptosis, investigates its role in degenerative and other diseases, and evaluates potential therapies that will permit appropriate activation or inhibition of apoptosis in disease and injury states.
Preface; 1. Apoptosis in health, disease and therapy: overview and methodology Eric C. LaCasse, Martin Holcik, Robert G. Korneluk and Alex E. MacKenzie; 2. Developmental apoptosis Hyung Don Ryoo and Hermann Steller; 3. Apoptosis and cancer Erinn L. Soucie, Gerard Evan and Linda Z. Penn; 4. Neuronal cell death in human neurodegenerative diseases and their animal/cell models Lee J. Martin, Zhiping Liu, Juan Troncoso and Donald L. Price; 5. Apoptosis in the cardiovascular system: incidence, regulation and therapeutic options Martin R. Bennett; 6. Cytotoxic lymphocytes, apoptosis and autoimmunity Pere Santamaria and R. Chris Bleackley; 7. Pro- and anti-apoptotic strategies of viruses Helmut Fickenscher, Bernhard Fleckenstein and Armin Ensser.