We examined the mechanism of neuronal necrosis induced by hypoxia in dentate gyrus cultures or by status epilepticus (SE) in adult mice. Our observations showed that hypoxic necrosis can be an active process starting with early mitochondrial swelling and loss of the mitochondrial membrane potential, followed by cytochrome c release and caspase-9-dependent activation of caspase-3. This sequence of events (or program) was independent of protein synthesis and may be induced by energy failure and/or calcium overloading of mitochondria. We called this form of necrosis "programmed necrosis." After SE in adult mice, CA1 and CA3 pyramidal neurons displayed a necrotic morphology, associated with caspase-3 immuncireactivity and with double-stranded DNA breaks, suggesting that 11 programmed necrosis" may be involved in SE-induced neuronal loss. Key Words: Status epilepticus-Programmed necrosis-Neuronal loss.