Immunological consequences of apoptotic cell phagocytosis

Am J Pathol. 2007 Jul;171(1):2-8. doi: 10.2353/ajpath.2007.070135.


Cells undergo apoptosis in development, tissue homeostasis, and disease and are subsequently cleared by professional and nonprofessional phagocytes. There is now overwhelming evidence that phagocyte function is profoundly altered following apoptotic cell uptake, with consequences for the ensuing innate and adaptive immune response. Pathogens and tumors exploit the changes in macrophage function following apoptotic cell uptake. Here, we will outline the consequences of apoptotic cell phagocytosis and illustrate how apoptotic cells could be used to manipulate the immune response for therapeutic gain.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis*
  • Autoimmunity
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Active
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Macrophages / immunology*
  • Phagocytosis*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology