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Difference between Apoptosis and Necrosis

The human body has several functions to perform. A body grows and develops with the help of cell structure, organs, tissues, systems, etc. But sometimes, the cells in the body are destroyed due to the outside environment. The growth and development of the body take place gradually, i.e., it takes years for the body and mind to be completely developed. Ironically, the body develops every time it is subjected to change. Cells are the most important aspect of the human body because the entire body is made of cells. There are cells beneath the layers of skin. For instance, whenever there is a bruise on our skin, the blood circulation comes to a standstill, and the cells are somewhat destroyed. The bruise begins to heal when new cells are formed. The blood circulation begins again, and the cell structure is newly formed. Now, cell structure and cell death are two significant factors that we are going to talk about. So, let us begin with their meanings.

Apoptosis vs Necrosis


Apoptosis is defined as the death of cells naturally. There is no role of the external environment in the cell death. This happens in the growth and development phase. Unwanted cells are removed from the body with the help of apoptosis. Apart from the unwanted cells, apoptosis also helps the body in getting rid of cells that cannot be repaired anymore. One of the important things to note here is that apoptosis helps in preventing cancer. Cell death and getting rid of it helps in preventing this deadly disease. Some cells are deadly mutated, i.e., if they are not removed from the body, several complications might occur. Now, how does apoptosis take place? Well, apoptosis is activated in the body through cell stressors. Cell stressors like hypoxia might lead to damaging the DNA and several other cell structures. The removal of cells takes place during the development process. The external factors cannot hinder cell death.

There are three stages of the apoptosis process. These stages are the early phase, mid-phase, and late phase. Apoptosis leads to the shrinking of the cell, rapid phagocytosis, etc. The stimulus is responsible for cell injury or cell death. Cell death can occur due to a lot of factors like nutritional imbalance like imbalance in proteins, excessive intake of carbohydrates, etc., and genetic defects like excessive weak or strong metabolism and premature birth. Well, as far as cell repair is concerned, there are several foods that may help in healing the cells. They are eggs, poultry products, berries, salmon, nuts, seeds, leafy vegetables, etc.


Necrosis is defined as the cell's death in an organ due to a disease in the tissues or stoppage of blood circulation. Cell death can also take place through some injury, infection, poison, inflammation, etc. Necrosis takes place when the healthy tissues die and become dehydrated. Majorly, necrosis can be seen as a blood flow failure that might lead to cancer as well. Some of the symptoms of necrosis include pain, swelling, skin discoloration, redness on the skin, blisters, numbness, etc. The problem regarding blood flow and lack of oxygen is triggered by some chemicals, trauma, or past medical history (including some chronic ailments). There are four significant kinds of necrosis, namely fat necrosis, fibrinoid necrosis, caseous necrosis, and gangrenous necrosis. Now, how can we treat the injuries caused by necrosis? The minor injuries caused by necrosis can be healed by self-treatment. Running water over injuries, removing any pieces in the wound through tweezers helps in reducing infection, and applying an antibody ointment might also help in covering the wound and healing it. Now, there are several differences between apoptosis and necrosis. So, let us have a look at them.

1. Apoptosis is defined as the process of cell death that takes place naturally during the growth and development phase. On the other hand, necrosis is defined as the process of cell death caused due to a disease, an injury, or an infection in the body.
2. The external environment is not responsible for cell death. Factors like poison, infection, disease, inflammation, etc., are responsible for necrosis.
3. Apoptosis prevents many fatal diseases like cancer. Necrosis might lead to cancer and many complications in the body.
4. There are three phases of apoptosis, i.e., early, middle, and late phases. There are four kinds of necrosis, i.e., fat necrosis, caseous necrosis, fibrinoid necrosis, and gangrenous necrosis.
5. Apoptosis cannot be prevented. Necrosis cannot be prevented, but several actions can be taken to heal the wound.
6. The organelles in the body function even after the death of the cells. The organelles do not function in the body after cell death.
7. The cell membrane is broken, and many apoptotic bodies are formed. The cell membrane breaks down, and cell contents are released from it.
8. Apoptosis is not harmful to the body. It helps in keeping the body active and balanced. Necrosis is harmful and leads to the damage of tissues in the body.
9. Apoptosis is caused due to self-generated signals in the cell structure. Necrosis is caused due to bacterial/ fungal infections, pancreatitis, micro-bacterial infections, etc.
10. Apoptosis can be self-treated at home. Necrosis needs medical treatment because it is dangerous and might lead to many fatal diseases.
11. The energy is not hindered as the enzymes carry out the task. Necrosis takes a lot of energy to carry out the task.
12. Apoptosis is also called the 'programmed cell death.' Necrosis is also called 'premature cell death.'
13. Apoptosis controls the number of cells in the body. Necrosis is responsible for inducing the immune system, defending the body against pathogens, etc.
14. It is a natural process. It is a pathological process.

So, these are the contrasting points between apoptosis and necrosis. The defining difference between them is that of the processes they undertake. For instance, apoptosis occurs naturally, while necrosis is a pathological process that can damage the DNA and other tissues in the body. Both apoptosis and necrosis take place in the body. Apoptosis is beneficial as the unwanted cells are removed from the body, while necrosis deliberately damages the cells of the body, which can prove to be fatal. Thus, apoptosis and necrosis are two processes that are different from one another in several aspects.

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