Regulation of cell death: the calcium-apoptosis link

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2003 Jul;4(7):552-65. doi: 10.1038/nrm1150.


To live or to die? This crucial question eloquently reflects the dual role of Ca2+ in living organisms--survival factor or ruthless killer. It has long been known that Ca2+ signals govern a host of vital cell functions and so are necessary for cell survival. However, more recently it has become clear that cellular Ca2+ overload, or perturbation of intracellular Ca2+ compartmentalization, can cause cytotoxicity and trigger either apoptotic or necrotic cell death.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis*
  • Calcium / physiology*
  • Calcium Signaling*
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / physiology*
  • Necrosis
  • Signal Transduction


  • Calcium