Necrosis vs Apoptosis: Difference and Comparison

Necrosis and Apoptosis are two different types of cell death that occur in response to certain stimuli. Both Necrosis and Apoptosis have programmed cell deaths that play an important role in many biological processes. Necrosis is caused by external sources such as trauma, infection, or toxins, while Apoptosis is a normal programmed pathway that creates space for new cells to grow and divide.


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Key Takeaways

  1. Necrosis is an uncontrolled cell death caused by external factors, while apoptosis is a regulated, programmed cell death.
  2. Necrosis results in inflammation and potential damage to surrounding tissues, while apoptosis does not cause inflammation.
  3. Necrosis occurs due to injury or disease, while apoptosis plays a role in normal development and tissue homeostasis.

Necrosis vs Apoptosis

Necrosis is a type of cell injury that occurs when there is a death of cells in living tissues due to unhealthy reasons like infections, chemicals, embolism, and radiation. Apoptosis is a natural and healthy process of cells killing themselves for reasons like preventing cancerous growth or retaining homeostasis.

Necrosis vs Apoptosis

Necrosis is the death of working cells in living tissue in the body. Necrosis can be caused by infection, trauma, toxins, and ionizing radiation, and in some instances, is an adverse side effect of cancer treatment. The resultant dead tissue has a characteristic pale-yellow colour and starts to decompose. The most common symptom of Necrosis is discolouration due to a lack of oxygen or the presence of hemosiderin.

Apoptosis is a cell death that occurs in multicellular organisms for the benefit of the body. There are two types of Apoptosis: the intrinsic and extrinsic pathways. Apoptosis is essential for our survival but can be dangerous if it gets out of control. Apoptosis is the process of cell death that occurs when certain cells are prevented from dividing.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonNecrosisApoptosis
Caused byExternal agentsNone, metabolic reaction
OrganellesFunctionalNot functional
SymptomsTissue deathNo tissue death
Occurs due toBacterial infectionsSelf-generated signals

What is Necrosis?

Necrosis is a form of cell injury which results from the death of cells in living tissue by an unhealthy process. Necrosis can be caused by different factors, including infection, embolism, chemicals, and radiation. This occurs in areas where the blood supply has been physically compromised, such as the fingertips or toes.

Necrosis is a condition in which a body part dies due to a lack of blood supply. Not good. Necrosis is a medical emergency; the longer you wait to treat it, the more damage it can do. In most cases, if Necrosis isn’t treated within 2-3 days, the tissue will die and have to be removed. This is extremely painful for patients and can lead to infections if not performed by an experienced surgeon with excellent surgical skills.

Necrosis is one of the most common reasons that people will need plastic surgery. It happens when there is a break in the blood vessels, allowing blood to leak out and destroy surrounding tissue. When this occurs under the skin, it becomes apparent as a dark purple or black mark.

It can also happen inside our bodies, where it’s called gangrene. When this happens in the intestines, it’s known as peritonitis. Gangrene and peritonitis are just different names for Necrosis.

What is Apoptosis?

Apoptosis is a natural and healthy process that occurs throughout our lives. Intrinsic Apoptosis occurs when cells kill themselves for reasons within the body, such as maintaining homeostasis or preventing cancerous growths.

Extrinsic Apoptosis occurs when something outside of the cell causes it to die on cue, such as an immune system response to infection by a virus. Apoptosis is essential for our survival but can be dangerous if it gets out of control. The mechanism by which Apoptosis is triggered was discovered in 1972 by Dr . John Foxton Ross Kerr, who termed the phenomenon “Programmed Cell Death.”

This discovery drew attention to the significance of Apoptosis in physiological development and disease, leading scientists to recognize Apoptosis as an important biological process. For many years, scientists assumed that embryonic cells were naturally resistant to apoptotic cell death due to their high undifferentiated potential.

When we are born, 100 billion cells die each minute to ensure we have the correct number for growth and development during childhood while also ensuring we don’t outgrow our skin. The process of Apoptosis, or programmed cell death, is an essential part of life. The human body contains billions of cells, and every day, millions of them die to make way for new ones.

Main Differences Between Necrosis and Apoptosis

  1. Necrosis is a cellular process, but Apoptosis is a regular process.
  2. Necrosis is caused by external agents but not Apoptosis.
  3. Organelles are functional in Necrosis but not functional in Apoptosis.
  4. Necrosis is harmful, but Apoptosis is beneficial.
  5. Necrosis has symptoms like tissue death, but Apoptosis does not have any tissue death.
  6. Necrosis occurs due to the action of bacterial infections, but Apoptosis occurs due to self-generated signals.
Difference Between Necrosis and Apoptosis
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