A blast from the past: clearance of apoptotic cells regulates immune responses

Nat Rev Immunol. 2002 Dec;2(12):965-75. doi: 10.1038/nri957.


Apoptosis, which is a programmed and physiological form of cell death, is known to shape the immune system by regulating populations of effector lymphocytes. However, the binding and ingestion of dying cells by monocytes/macrophages and dendritic cells can also influence immune responses markedly by enhancing or suppressing inflammation. Therefore, dead cells, which are a reflection of an organism's immediate past, can control its immunological future.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / immunology*
  • Autoimmunity / immunology
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immune System / immunology*
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Monocytes / immunology
  • Phagocytosis