Unscheduled apoptosis during acute inflammatory lung injury

Article metrics


Apoptosis is a mode of cell death currently thought to occur in the absence of inflammation. In contrast, inflammation follows unscheduled events such as acute tissue injury which results in necrosis, not apoptosis. We examined the relevance of this paradigm in three distinct models of acute lung injury; hyperoxia, oleic acid, and bacterial pneumonia. In every case, it was found that apoptosis is actually a prominent component of the acute and inflammatory phase of injury. Moreover, using strains of mice that are differentially sensitive to hyperoxic lung injury we observed that the percent of apoptotic cells was well correlated with the severity of lung injury. These observations suggest that apoptosis may be one of the biological consequences during acute injury and the failure to remove these apoptotic cells may also contribute to the inflammatory response.

Author information

Correspondence to Stuart Horowitz.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article


  • programmed cell death
  • necrosis
  • hyperoxia
  • oleic acid

Further reading