UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology

Publication Date


Document Type



Cell and Developmental Biology | Cells | Cellular and Molecular Physiology


Cell death is a fundamental physiological process in all living organisms. Its roles extend from embryonic development, organ maintenance, and aging to the coordination of immune responses and autoimmunity. In recent years, our understanding of the mechanisms orchestrating cellular death and its consequences on immunity and homeostasis has increased substantially. Different modalities of what has become known as 'programmed cell death' have been described, and some key players in these processes have been identified. We have learned more about the intricacies that fine tune the activity of common players and ultimately shape the different types of cell death. These studies have highlighted the complex mechanisms tipping the balance between different cell fates. Here, we summarize the latest discoveries in the three most well understood modalities of cell death, namely, apoptosis, necroptosis, and pyroptosis, highlighting common and unique pathways and their effect on the surrounding cells and the organism as a whole.


Apoptosis, Inflammation, Necroptosis, Pyroptosis, Survival

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Copyright © The Author(s) 2021. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit

DOI of Published Version



Bertheloot D, Latz E, Franklin BS. Necroptosis, pyroptosis and apoptosis: an intricate game of cell death. Cell Mol Immunol. 2021 May;18(5):1106-1121. doi: 10.1038/s41423-020-00630-3. Epub 2021 Mar 30. PMID: 33785842; PMCID: PMC8008022. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Cellular and molecular immunology

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Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.