Cell Death and Injury


In this Course we intend to deepen the study of the cellular and molecular processes involved in the different types of cell death, and in the cellular response to the injury. In parallel we will address methods of evaluation of different stages of cell death, as well as development of drugs and research of therapeutic targets.

It is expected that at the end of this course students will have achieved the following general competences: i) understanding the concept of oxidative stress; ii) to understand, through practical cases, the concept of cellular injury and the mechanisms activated in the endogenous response to the injury; iii) enumerate and distinguish different types and cell death, relating the inductors and mechanisms involved; iv) to identify the deregulation of the mechanisms involved in cell death as being the basis of several diseases; v) to use the acquired concepts and to understand strategies and therapeutic targets to modulate cell death in the different diseases; vi) acquisition of research skills of recent literature on subjects taught, in order to expose and critically discuss scientific works in the area; Vii) to acquire laboratory skills and contact with methodologies currently used in the evaluation of different injury and cell death parameters.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Margarida Casal Ribeiro Castro Caldas Braga


Weekly - 3

Total - 34

Teaching language





Molecular Cell Biology. Lodish et al. 7th Ed. WH Freeman & Company, NY 2012

 Molecular Biology of the Cell. Alberts et al. 5th Ed. Garland Science, NY 2007

Scientific papers

Teaching method

Lectures will be based on textbook material and selected papers from the current literature.

Practical lessons include experiments, and analysis and discussion of the results.

Evaluation method

I) Frequency of the course:
 1. Attendance to 2/3 of the theoretical-practical classes will be required to obtain the subject.

2. Participation in practical classes is recorded in attendance sheets.

3. Students who are in practical class but do not sign the sheet lack attendance.

4. Delays after 10 min. from the start time of the practical class (10h10m), are considered absences of delay, however the student may choose to attend the class. Two delay faults are converted to an actual fault.

5. Missing assessment days do not imply the completion of the assessment on another day.

6. Medical certificates or other justification for absences will only be accepted until one week after the day of absence.

7. Student workers and other exceptional cases who do not attend the TP / P must carry out an assessment (to be agreed with the teacher) to obtain attendance at the subject.


II) Evaluation:

The final grade of the course (0-20 val) results from the sum of the grades obtained in 3 components, which components must be equal to or greater than 9.5 val:


1. Theoretical / practical evaluation component: (1 presentation of the results obtained in classes P; 30% of the final grade, 6 val). On October 25, 1919.

2. penalties in the practical continuous assessment component: Penalties corresponding to continuous individual assessment throughout the semester based on participation / commitment and performance in TP / P classes. The following may be punished in each class: Unjustified absences, absences of delay, lack of material (knock, protocol or other material previously indicated), disturbance of the class, failure to perform the proposed exercises, lack of care with the material of the classes and lack of tidiness at the end of class (5% of final grade, 1 val).


3. project evaluation component: written group work on topics proposed by the teachers (70% of the final grade, 14 val). To be delivered by 3.11.2019.


Deadline for submission of work submitted in moodle:


Slides of presentation: Upload in moodle of the slides (in pdf or ppt) in the day of the presentations (25/10), before the beginning of the class (8h30m). They will not be accepted after this deadline.


Written work: Until the 3rd of November, by uploading to students by moodle (until closing time). Papers submitted after this deadline will be penalized 50% of the grade if delivered within 2 business days following the deadline. They will not be accepted after this deadline.


Written papers will be subjected to plagiarism verification with the program available at FCT (moodle). Analysis of "similarity reports" submitted after review of submitted documents - accepted <30% similarity (individually verified cases).

 Abssences in evaluation days:

. The date of the presentations and the delivery of the work are disclosed at the beginning of the classes and there is no alternative date (s) or repetition of any of the evaluation moments.

. Unjustified absences on days when results are being produced for inclusion in a work imply that the student will have 0 val in that work; In case of justifiable absences, the situation will be analyzed with the group and the student on a case by case basis.

More details on the discipline plan and rules are attached on this page. CLIP and are available on the moodle page.

Subject matter

Theoretical classes

1. Oxidative stress: inducers, mechanisms involved and adaptation of cells and tissues to oxidative stress

2. Cell death in homeostasis and deregulation of cell death in pathological processes: necrosis, apoptosis, necroptosis and other forms of cell death.

2.1. General mechanisms of activation of the cell death process

2.2. Molecular mechanisms involved in the process of cell death

2.3. Cell organelles as modulators and targets of the processes involved in cell death

2.4. Cellular response to injury and reversibility of the cell death process

2.5. Deregulation of cell death in several pathologies: cancer, autoimmune diseases and infections

2.6. Deregulation of cell death in several pathologies: degenerative diseases.

3. Role of autophagy in the regulation of cell death.

3.1. Cell organelles as modulators and targets of the processes involved in autophagy.

4. Modulation of cell death. Development of drugs and research of therapeutic targets.


Practical classes:

1. Evaluation of oxidative stress

1.1. Griess reaction

1.2. Evaluation of ROS: staining with DCF-DA dye

2. Evaluation of cell death (apoptosis/necrosis)

2.1. Evaluation of nuclear morphology with Hoechst staining

2.2. Evaluation of lactate desidrogenase activity (LDH assay)


Programs where the course is taught: