Programmed cell death: Implications for neuropsychiatric disorders

Russell L. Margolis, De Maw Chuang, Robert M. Post

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Programmed cell death, sometimes referred to as apoptosis, occurs through an active process requiring new gene transcription, in contrast to the passive cell death produced by metabolic toxins. Programmed cell death is an essential part of normal development, particularly in the nervous system. Spatial, temporal, or quantitative errors in the stimuli that initiate programmed cell death, or errors within the programmed cell death pathway itself, can result in an abnormal number of neurons and pathological neural development. Excesses and deficits in neuronal numbers have now been observed not only in typical neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's and Huntington's diseases, but also in several neurodevelopmental disorders, including schizophrenia and autism. Recent investigations into the mechanism of cell death during C. elegans neurodevelopment thymocyte negative selection, and withdrawal of sympathetic ganglion cells trophic support provides intriguing clues to the etiology and pathophysiology of these neuropsychiatric disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)946-956
Number of pages11
JournalBiological psychiatry
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • cell death
  • molecular biology
  • neurodegeneration
  • neurodevelopment
  • neuropsychiatry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Programmed cell death: Implications for neuropsychiatric disorders'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this