Molecular definitions of cell death subroutines: Recommendations of the Nomenclature Committee on Cell Death 2012

L. Galluzzi, I. Vitale, J. M. Abrams, E. S. Alnemri, E. H. Baehrecke, M. V. Blagosklonny, T. M. Dawson, V. L. Dawson, W. S. El-Deiry, S. Fulda, E. Gottlieb, D. R. Green, M. O. Hengartner, O. Kepp, R. A. Knight, S. Kumar, S. A. Lipton, X. Lu, F. Madeo, W. MalorniP. Mehlen, G. Nũez, M. E. Peter, M. Piacentini, D. C. Rubinsztein, Y. Shi, H. U. Simon, P. Vandenabeele, E. White, J. Yuan, B. Zhivotovsky, G. Melino, G. Kroemer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2035 Scopus citations


In 2009, the Nomenclature Committee on Cell Death (NCCD) proposed a set of recommendations for the definition of distinct cell death morphologies and for the appropriate use of cell death-related terminology, including apoptosis, necrosis and mitotic catastrophe. In view of the substantial progress in the biochemical and genetic exploration of cell death, time has come to switch from morphological to molecular definitions of cell death modalities. Here we propose a functional classification of cell death subroutines that applies to both in vitro and in vivo settings and includes extrinsic apoptosis, caspase-dependent or-independent intrinsic apoptosis, regulated necrosis, autophagic cell death and mitotic catastrophe. Moreover, we discuss the utility of expressions indicating additional cell death modalities. On the basis of the new, revised NCCD classification, cell death subroutines are defined by a series of precise, measurable biochemical features.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-120
Number of pages14
JournalCell Death and Differentiation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • TNFR1
  • TP53
  • autophagy
  • mitochondrial membrane permeabilization
  • necroptosis
  • parthanatos

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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