Table 2

Cell death phenotypeMorphologyCommon biochemical markers

Apoptosis(i) Decreased cellular volume (pyknosis)
(ii) Rounding-up of cell
(i) Loss of mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm)
(iii) Intact plasma membrane blebbing(ii) Cysteine protease activation
(iv) Chromatin condensation(iii) Phosphatidylserine externalization
(v) Nuclear fragmentation(iv) Oligonucleosomal DNA fragmentation
(vi) Apoptotic body formation(v) Exclusion of cell-impermeable vital dyes in early stages
(vii) Minor changes in cytoplasmic organelles(vi) Increase in reactive oxidants

Autophagy(i) Cytoplasmic vacuolization(i) Starvation response
(ii) Autophagic vesicles with double membranes(ii) Induction of membrane rearrangement genes (e.g. ATG1 and ATG8) to form autophagosomes
(iii) No chromatin condensation(iii) Caspase 8 involvement

Necrosis(i) Increased cellular volume (oncosis)(i) Nonspecific DNA degradation
(ii) Loss of integrity and rupture of plasma membrane(ii) Inclusion of cell-impermeable vital dyes
(iii) Swelling of cytoplasmic organelles(iii) Loss of ΔΨm