When we talk about ways to destroy fat, we loosely use the terms necrosis and apoptosis because these are the mechanisms that are most commonly known. Here I’d like to highlight the importance of bearing in mind the particular way in which a cell dies. Consideration of how the cell dies and how this mechanism of death will affect the clinical outcomes is an important and somewhat overlooked premise.
Ways to kill fat
Until recently we’ve only thought of the two polar opposites of ways to kill fat. Apoptosis is really silent cell death and this is what happens when our cells die in order keep the total population of cells stable. About 100,000 cells per second undergo apoptosis in a human because our cells also divide and undergo mitosis. A balance must be kept. As you know embryos tend to have a tail, and it’s apoptosis that makes the cells of that tail disappear without a scar. If we didn’t have programmed cell death we would be massive creatures. By definition there’s no inflammation at all when an apoptotic process occurs. Necrosis, on the other hand, is severely inflammatory, but it is not the ideal mechanism for fat reduction either. Necrosis causes an instant demise of the affected cell. The cell membrane ruptures, causing the release of lysozymes into the surrounding tissue and the involved cells undergo significant swelling. Another word for the process is “oncosis”, as necrosis is more correctly used as identifying the cell when it is dead.
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