Dangerous attraction: phagocyte recruitment and danger signals of apoptotic and necrotic cells

Apoptosis. 2010 Sep;15(9):1007-28. doi: 10.1007/s10495-010-0472-1.


Tissue homeostasis in metazoa requires the rapid and efficient clearance of dying cells by professional or semi-professional phagocytes. Impairment of this finely regulated, fundamental process has been implicated in the development of autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus. Various studies have provided us a detailed understanding of the interaction between dying cells and phagocytes as well as the current concept that apoptotic cell removal leads to a non- or anti-inflammatory response, whereas necrotic cell removal stimulates a pro-inflammatory reaction. In contrast, our knowledge about the soluble factors released from dying cells is rather limited, although meanwhile it is generally accepted that not only the dying cell itself but also the substances liberated during cell death contribute to the process of corpse clearance and the subsequent immune response. This review article is intended as an up-to-date survey over attraction and danger signals of apoptotic, primary and secondary necrotic cells, their function as chemoattractants in phagocyte recruitment, additional effects on the immune system, and the receptors, which are engaged in this scenario.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis*
  • Humans
  • Necrosis
  • Phagocytes / immunology*
  • Phagocytosis
  • Signal Transduction*