Gangrene is the destruction of living tissue due to obstruction of its blood (and therefore oxygen) supply. Once such obstruction occurs, the gangrenous process is often caused by infection by such bacteria as Clostridium (gas gangrene) or a combination of streptococci and staphylococci (Meleney's synergistic gangrene). Another common form of gangrene, diabetic gangrene, results from arteriosclerosis due to diabetes.
Gangrene infection has a strong tendency to spread because the bacteria produce powerful toxins that destroy adjacent healthy tissues, making them highly susceptible to further invasion. Treatment involves heavy doses of antibiotics and the surgical removal of all affected tissue.