Roach, Helmtrud I. and Clarke, Nicholas M.P.
"Cell paralysis" as an intermediate stage in the programmed cell death of epiphyseal chondrocytes during development
Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 14, (8), . (doi:10.1359/jbmr.19184.108.40.2067). (PMID:10457269).
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The efficient elimination of apoptotic cells depends on heterophagocytosis by other cells, which is difficult or impossible when the dying cells are embedded in an extracellular matrix. This situation is exemplified by the epiphyseal chondrocytes during the development of the chondroepiphyses of long bones. A detailed ultrastructural study identified an unusual type of epiphyseal chondrocyte which contained a very dark nucleus with irregular patches of condensed chromatin and a crenated nuclear membrane. The cytosol consisted of excessively expanded endoplasmic reticulum lumen, containing “islands” of cytoplasm and organelles. Since these cells appeared to be “in limbo,” neither viable nor dead, they are referred to as “paralyzed” cells. By studying cells of intermediate morphologies, we were able to demonstrate the sequence of events leading to cell paralysis. It is proposed that the paralysis represents an intermediate state in the physiological cell death of epiphyseal chondrocytes in which destruction is orderly and avoids a inflammatory, potentially locally destructive, reaction. The cell is rendered paralyzed in terms of function but impotent in respect of damaging consequences. Paralysis is compared and contrasted with apoptosis, autophagocytosis, and necrosis and may represent another mode of programmed cell death in situations where cells are immature and/or where phagocytosis by neighboring cells is difficult.
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