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International Journal of Cell Biology
Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 214074, 23 pages
Review Article

Cellular Stress Responses: Cell Survival and Cell Death

1Children's Hospital, Ulm University, Eythstra├če. 24, 89075 Ulm, Germany
2School of Natural Sciences, National University of Ireland, Galway, University Road, Galway, Ireland
3Kanazawa University Graduate School of Medical Science, Department of Neuroanatomy, Kanazawa City, Ishikawa, 920-8640 Japan, Japan

Received 4 August 2009; Accepted 20 November 2009

Academic Editor: Srinivasa M. Srinivasula

Copyright © 2010 Simone Fulda et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Cells can respond to stress in various ways ranging from the activation of survival pathways to the initiation of cell death that eventually eliminates damaged cells. Whether cells mount a protective or destructive stress response depends to a large extent on the nature and duration of the stress as well as the cell type. Also, there is often the interplay between these responses that ultimately determines the fate of the stressed cell. The mechanism by which a cell dies (i.e., apoptosis, necrosis, pyroptosis, or autophagic cell death) depends on various exogenous factors as well as the cell's ability to handle the stress to which it is exposed. The implications of cellular stress responses to human physiology and diseases are manifold and will be discussed in this review in the context of some major world health issues such as diabetes, Parkinson's disease, myocardial infarction, and cancer.