GLOSSARY: Cytotoxic

Cytotoxic is a term that refers to a compound that results in a variety of cell fates. The cells may undergo necrosis, in which they lose membrane integrity and die rapidly as a result of cell lysis. The cells can stop actively growing and dividing (a decrease in cell viability), or the cells can activate a genetic program of controlled cell death (apoptosis). Examples of toxic agents are a chemical substance, an immune cell or some types of venom (e.g. from the puff adder or brown recluse spider).

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