Mitotic catastrophe (MC) has long been accounted as a cell death path activated by premature or inappropriate entry of cells into mitosis following chemical or physical stresses. Although various possible explanations related to MC have been formulated, no general accepted definition of this phenomenon has been found yet. Recent evidences, however, demonstrate that MC is not a distinguished way of cell death, rather a “prestage” anticipating cell death, taking place in mitotically disrupted cells, which later occurs via necrosis or apoptosis. Moreover, even though it is widely accepted that MC is the main outcome after ionizing radiation treatment or treatment with drugs that influence microtubule assembly/stability inducing mitotic failure, the final cell death pathway and the final outcome of MC, which strongly depend on the cell type and its related molecular profile, still need to be fully elucidated. Post-mitotic cells, like neurons in the central nervous system, and podocytes or tubular cells in the kidney, are particularly susceptible to MC. In the central nervous system, MC has been claimed as the cause of neuronal death in many neurologic disorders, while MC in podocytes and tubular death is connected with the development of progressive glomerulosclerosis.
Part of the book: Cell Biology