Mechanisms of Cell Death in Heart Disease
The major cardiac syndromes, myocardial infarction and heart failure, are responsible for a large portion of deaths worldwide. Genetic and pharmacological manipulations indicate that cell death is an important component in the pathogenesis of both diseases. Cells die primarily by apoptosis or necrosis, and autophagy has been associated with cell death. Apoptosis has long been recognized as a highly regulated process. Recent data indicate that a significant subset of necrotic deaths is also highly programmed. In the present review, we discuss the molecular mechanisms that underlie these forms of cell death and their interconnections. Because of their regulated nature, the possibility is raised that small molecules aimed at inhibiting cell death may provide novel therapies for these common and lethal heart syndromes.
- Received April 9, 2012.
- Accepted May 3, 2012.
- © 2012 American Heart Association, Inc.