What happens when a cell dies?
Cell death is fairly self-explanatory: after a certain period of time, the cells age and eventually die. Before that happens, though, they may enter one of two stages: quiescence or senescence. Quiescence refers to temporary cell arrest and senescence refers to permanent cell arrest. By cell arrest, I mean they fail to divide and may go into ‘repair’ mode. The failure of cell death in cells or ‘immortality’ is the main reason why cancer is so dangerous to the human body. You can find out more information about the correlation between stoppage of cell death and cancer development in Hallmarks of Cancer.
There are two different types of cell death that can occur within the human body: apoptosis and necrosis. Both are very different processes, and whilst one happens every day without causing any damage, the other can be frankly quite nasty. Beware: this subject may turn a few stomachs as I included some fairly graphic pictures!
Guessing game for you… can you figure out which type of cell death the above cell is going through?