Another way to die: autophagic programmed cell death

Cell Death Differ. 2005 Nov;12 Suppl 2:1528-34. doi: 10.1038/sj.cdd.4401777.


Programmed cell death (PCD) is one of the important terminal paths for the cells of metazoans, and is involved in a variety of biological events that include morphogenesis, maintenance of tissue homeostasis, and elimination of harmful cells. Dysfunction of PCD leads to various diseases in humans, including cancer and several degenerative diseases. Apoptosis is not the only form of PCD. Recent studies have provided evidence that there is another mechanism of PCD, which is associated with the appearance of autophagosomes and depends on autophagy proteins. This form of cell death most likely corresponds to a process that has been morphologically defined as autophagic PCD. The present review summarizes recent experimental evidence about autophagic PCD and discusses some aspects of this form of cell death, including the mechanisms that may distinguish autophagic death from the process of autophagy involved in cell survival.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • Autophagy / physiology*
  • Humans
  • JNK Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / physiology
  • Phagocytosis
  • Phagosomes / physiology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / physiology
  • Signal Transduction


  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • JNK Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases