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 - 2

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 the practical classes will be required .

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

4. Delays longer than 20 min. from the start time of the practical class will  prevent the student from attending that class.

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.


II) Evaluation:

The final grade of the course (0-20 val) results from the sum of the grades obtained in 2 components, which  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 30th 2020.


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


Subject matter

Theoretical classes

1. Oxidative stress: inducers, mechanisms involved and adaptation of cells and tissues to oxidative stress; Nrf2 system and endogenous antioxidants

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: