Apoptosis, otherwise known as Programmed Cell Death (PCD), is a process that allows cells to commit suicide to help aid an organism in development and to avoid the possibilities of having diseases. Although there are many types of PCD, it’s often compared to Necrosis, but they’re used under different conditions with a different process to cell death. Many physiological and pathological conditions are involved with apoptosis. The process and the purpose of apoptosis in development have been researched in many different organisms such as in mice and the C. elegans worm. It plays an important role in the immune system to keep an organism healthy. If there’s too much or not enough apoptosis occurring within humans, then it can lead to many different severe disorders or diseases like cancers, autoimmune diseases or neurological and cardiovascular diseases.
The first stage of apoptosis would be that the cells would shrink which causes the cells to become smaller with a denser cytoplasm. As a result, the organelles inside the cells closely and firmly pack together. After that, chromatin condensation occurs so the surfaces of the chromatin clusters and clumps together into many different shapes. It then develops blebs because the cytoplasm blebs out, which are like bubbly-shaped lumps, onto the plasma membrane. When the blebs separate from the plasma membrane, they’re called apoptotic bodies with organelles inside them. The organelles are the cell fragments that can be recycled via phagocytosis. The macrophage engulfs the apoptotic bodies by its pseudopodia to surround it and then starts to digest it. The apoptotic bodies would be inside the phagocytic vacuole which will fuse together with a lysosome. The apoptotic bodies will break down after the lysozymes gets released from the lysosomes. Once the apoptotic bodies are digested, the macrophages become tingible body macrophages which can be stained.