Apoptosis is a fascinating phenomenon that plays a central role in maintaining the health and development of organisms. Simply put, apoptosis is a process of programmed cell death that allows the body to remove damaged or unneeded cells in a controlled manner. In this article, we will give you the scientific background and show you why we need apoptosis.

What is apoptosis?

The definition of apoptosis is the process of programmed cell death that occurs in multicellular organisms. It is a tightly regulated process that allows the organism to eliminate cells that are damaged, redundant or potentially dangerous in a controlled manner. This process is characterized by characteristic morphological changes, including cell shrinkage, chromatin condensation and the formation of so-called apoptotic bodies, which are then phagocytosed by neighbouring cells or macrophages.

Apoptosis - can it be easier?

Admittedly, all the technical terms can be confusing. So here's an analogy for you to better understand the process of apoptosis:

Think of apoptosis as the planned tidying up of a room that contains items that are no longer needed or are broken. In this picture, the cells are the items in the room. Some of them may be damaged or no longer useful to the body, just like old or broken items in a room.

The process of apoptosis begins when the body decides that it is time to "clean up" those cells that are no longer needed or damaged. Similar to when you receive a signal(e.g. the start of spring cleaning) that it's time to tidy up your room. The body sends special signals to these cells telling them that it's their time.

The cells then follow a very orderly and methodical "self-destruction" process. They shrink and break down into smaller pieces, similar to when you break down old objects to make them easier to dispose of. These small pieces are then picked up and removed by the body's "garbage collectors", the macrophages (a type of white blood cell), so that no mess is left behind. This cleanup action does not cause inflammation or damage to the surrounding "room" (tissue), which is very different from necrosis (a messy and inflammatory form of cell death).

This orderly process helps the body stay healthy by ensuring that only functioning and needed "items" (cells) remain in the "room" (tissue). It is a natural and vital process for development, health and the prevention of disease.

The importance of apoptosis - what does p53 have to do with it?

The importance of apoptosis extends to numerous physiological processes and disease states. It plays a crucial role in development and homeostasis, for example by removing excess cells during embryonic development or supporting the immune system by breaking down defective cells.

The p53 protein pathway is a central mechanism in the regulation of apoptosis. The p53 protein acts as a tumor suppressor and can put the cell into a state of apoptosis if DNA damage cannot be repaired. This serves as a protective mechanism against the development of cancer.

Longevity and apoptosis

Apoptosis and longevity are also linked. Fine-tuned apoptosis supports longevity by contributing to the elimination of potentially harmful, aging or dysfunctional cells, which contributes to the overall health and stability of tissues and organisms.

An important distinguishing feature of apoptosis is the way in which it differs from other forms of cell death, such as necrosis and autophagy. Necrosis is typically the result of acute damage that leads to an uncontrolled release of cell contents and can cause an inflammatory response, as opposed to the "clean" and controlled nature of apoptosis. Autophagy, on the other hand, is a process in which cells break down and recycle their own components, which is a survival strategy under stress conditions, but does not lead directly to cell death like apoptosis. We can strengthen autophagy by fasting, for example.

The necessity of apoptosis arises from its central role in the prevention of cancer, in the development of the organism and in the maintenance of cellular homeostasis. It helps to maintain a balance between cell growth and cell death and plays a crucial role in immune tolerance and the elimination of pathogens.

Fasting bundle of MoleQlar with glucosamine, berbersome and spermidine.
MoleQlar's fasting bundle with glucosamine, berbersome and spermidine is designed to support the fasting process at the molecular level.

Senescence and apoptosis

Apoptosis and senescence, although different in their endpoints, share similarities in terms of their involvement in aging and tumor suppression. Senescence refers to a state in which cells stop dividing but remain alive and metabolically active. Both processes serve as protective mechanisms against cancer and contribute to longevity by preventing the accumulation of potentially harmful cells.

The introduction of senolytics, in particular the effect of quercetinmarks a promising advance in the understanding and treatment of age-related diseases and longevity. Senolytics are specialized drugs that selectively eliminate senescent cells that contribute to aging and the development of age-associated diseases. Senescent cells are cells that have stopped dividing but continue to play active roles in the body, often through the release of proinflammatory factors known as the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP).

Quercetin, a naturally occurring flavonoidhas proven to be an effective senolytic in combination with dasatinib. This combination has been shown in clinical trials to reduce the burden of senescent cells in human tissue. For example, a pilot study in people with diabetic kidney disease showed that a short course of treatment with dasatinib and quercetin significantly reduced the amount of senescent cells. In addition, quercetin was found to promoteAMPK activity, leading to non-apoptotic cell death and a reduced number of stress-induced senescent cells.

Quercesome Quercetin Capsules Complex Banner
Quercesome - 20 times higher bioavailability compared to conventional quercetin powder. Thanks to phospholipids from sunflowers and natural vitamin C.


In summary, apoptosis plays a crucial role in maintaining health and preventing disease. Ongoing research in this area promises a deeper understanding of these processes and potential therapeutic approaches for the treatment of various diseases.


  • Favaloro, Bartolo et al. "Role of apoptosis in disease." Aging vol. 4.5 (2012): 330-49. link
  • Kam, P C, and N I Ferch. "Apoptosis: mechanisms and clinical implications." Anaesthesia vol. 55,11 (2000): 1081-93. link
  • Aubrey, Brandon J et al. "How does p53 induce apoptosis and how does this relate to p53-mediated tumor suppression?". Cell death and differentiation vol. 25,1 (2018): 104-113. link
  • D'Arcy, Mark S. "Cell death: a review of the major forms of apoptosis, necrosis and autophagy." Cell biology international vol. 43.6 (2019): 582-592. link
  • Childs, Bennett G et al. "Senescence and apoptosis: dueling or complementary cell fates?". EMBO reports vol. 15,11 (2014): 1139-53. link