Programmed Cell Death Affects Heart

BOSTON--Programmed cell death is called is called apoptosis. Apoptosis is a normal feature of cell replacement in developing and aging adult tissues. It is regulated by a genetic program within each cell which orchestrates a series of biochemical events. The cells affected by apoptosis can be identified by certain characteristics.

Heart failure is a common disease in the United States, affecting over 3 million persons. Heart failure is the medical term used to describe a heart with inadequate function. Heart failure is the end-product of weakening of the heart muscle (cadiomyopathy). Heart failure can be initiated by high blood pressure (hypertension), inflammation or infection of the heart muscle (myocarditis), diabetes, alcohol toxicity, and coronary artery disease. End-stage cardiomyopathy is not curable without a heart transplant.