how to identify truly apoptosis

Tom Anderson ucgatan at
Mon Dec 15 08:00:29 EST 2003

On 13 Dec 2003, jaymone wrote:

> Not true that any drug can induce apoptosis.  Many drugs kill cells
> without inducing apoptosis.  The only way to identify
> apoptosis-inducing drugs is to expose cells to the drug and look for
> markers of apoptosis, such as caspase activation, DNA laddering,
> chromatin condensation, etc.

But that won't distinguish between drugs which have an effect which the
cell responds to by apoptosing (eg etoposide, which causes DNA damage) and
drugs which trigger apoptosis directly, by acting on the apoptotic
machinery. I'm not certain, but i think that's what the OP was getting at.

I have no advice myself, except to consult a pharmacologist, who ought to
know about this sort of stuff.


Tom Anderson, MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology, UCL

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