Mitochondria are double-membrane bound organelles that not only provide energy for intracellular metabolism, but also play a key role in the regulation of cell death. Mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization (MOMP), allowing the release of intermembrane space proteins like cytochrome c, is considered a point of no return in apoptosis. MOMP is controlled by the proteins of the B-cell lymphoma 2 (BCL-2) family, including pro-and anti-apoptotic members, whose balance determines the decision between cell death and survival. Other factors such as membrane lipid environment, membrane dynamics, and inter-organelle communications are also known to influence this process. MOMP and apoptosis have been acknowledged as immunologically silent. Remarkably, a growing body of evidence indicates that MOMP can engage in various pro-inflammatory signaling functions. In this mini-review, we discuss about our current knowledge on the mechanisms of mitochondrial apoptosis, as well as the involvement of mitochondria in other kinds of programmed cell death pathways.

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