Apoptotic muscle cell; early stages of cell death (apoptosis), coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM). C2C12 cell line skeletal muscle cells in culture. Apoptosis is a process of programmed cell death that occurs in multicellular organisms. Apoptosis cannot stop once it has begun and it is a highly regulated cellular process. Apoptosis can be initiated through one of two pathways (intrinsic or extrinsic pathway). Striated skeletal muscle is the largest tissue in the body. It is subject to protracted periods of nonpathological atrophy and hypertrophy in response to starvation, activity and development. Skeletal muscle also undergoes cell death as a normal component of development or in response to pathological stimuli. If cells fail to differentiate or activate survival proteins they can undergo programmed cell death via apoptosis. Magnification: x2,200 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.
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