T-cell apoptosis in the nervous system and therapeutic implications
In 1972, Kerr et al1 used morphological criteria to define apoptosis as a specialized form of cell death. Typically, chromatin condensation and shrinkage of the cell occur in parallel, and the integrity of the cell membrane is preserved for a long time. Although apoptosis is a purely morphological term, it has an array of pathophysiological and functional implications, since it eliminates cells without secondary inflammatory reaction. Removal of apoptotic cells by professional phagocytes may then exert further down-regulatory functions on inflammatory mediators released by these immune cells. In cell culture, apoptotic bodies are readily phagocytosed by microglial cells, and this may in turn alter microglial functions.