Apoptosis, a form of programmed cell death, is not only a major process within normal homeostasis but is present in disease states such as cancer and many autoimmune and neurodegenerative diseases. Apoptosis is accompanied by condensation of cytoplasm, loss of plasma membrane microvilli, condensation and fragmentation of nuclei, and extensive degradation of chromosomal DNA into oligomers of about 180 bp. A large number of molecules are involved in carrying out and regulating apoptosis.
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