Apoptotic cell death following traumatic injury to the central nervous system

Joe E. Springer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Apoptotic cell death is a fundamental and highly regulated biological process in which a cell is instructed to actively participate in its own demise. This process of cellular suicide is activated by developmental and environmental cues and normally plays an essential role in eliminating superfluous, damaged, and senescent cells of many tissue types. In recent years, a number of experimental studies have provided evidence of widespread neuronal and glial apoptosis following injury to the central nervous system (CNS). These studies indicate that injury-induced apoptosis can be detected from hours to days following injury and may contribute to neurological dysfunction. Given these findings, understanding the biochemical signaling events controlling apoptosis is a first step towards developing therapeutic agents that target this cell death process. This review will focus on molecular cell death pathways that are responsible for generating the apoptotic phenotype. It will also summarize what is currently known about the apoptotic signals that are activated in the injured CNS, and what potential strategies might be pursued to reduce this cell death process as a means to promote functional recovery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-105
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 31 2002


  • Adenovirus gene delivery
  • Apoptosis
  • Brain trauma
  • Caspases
  • Ischemia
  • Spinal cord trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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