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Apoptosis or Necrosis?

Q: Do targeted toxin-treated cells die by apoptosis?

A: 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 good literature that states that cells die by apoptosis. Saporin and apoptosis gives 25 hits in PubMed. 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.

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. Saporin and necrosis gives 11 hits in PubMed.

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.

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

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