Apoptosis vs. Necrosis
Living things are composed of living cells, which can die. Apoptosis and necrosis are both forms of this cell death.
Apoptosis is the 'programmed' death of a cell that occurs from within. The word is formed from the Greek prefix "apo-," meaning away from and the suffix "-ptosis," which means falling. Cells that die as a result of apoptosis are cleared away by white blood cells and do not harm the organism.
Necrosis is the death of a cell as a result of outside trauma or influence. The word is formed from the Greek prefix "necro-," meaning death and the suffix "-osis," which means condition. Necrosis is harmful to organisms, but does not necessarily result in death.
The death of individual cells is a natural and necessary process in living organisms. Apoptosis is a healthy way to eliminate old, unnecessary, or unhealthy cells. However, it can become problematic if it begins affecting healthy cells. Necrosis, on the other hand, is an irreversible destruction of a cell which can lead to gangrene.
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