Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.
The loss of cells is an important factor in many diseases, including those of the cardiovascular system. Whereas apoptosis is an essential process in development and tissue homeostasis, its occurrence is often associated with various pathologies. Apoptosis of neurons that fail to make appropriate connections is essential for the selection of correct neural signalling in the developing embryo, but its appearance in adults is often associated with neurodegenerative disease. Similarly, in the cardiovascular system, remodeling of the mammalian outflow tract during the transition from a single to dual series circulation with four chambers is accompanied by a precise pattern of cell death, but apoptosis of cardiomyocytes contributes to ischemia-reperfusion injury in the heart. In many cases, it is unclear whether apoptosis represents a causative association or merely a consequence of the disease itself. There are many excellent reviews on cell death in the cardiovascular system (1-5); in this review we outline the critical signalling pathways that promote the survival of cardiovascular cells, and their relevance to both physiological cell death and disease.