The life of an organism requires the assistance of an unlikely process: programmed cell death. Both development and the maintenance of homeostasis result in the production of superfluous cells that must eventually be disposed of. Furthermore, programmed cell death can also represent a defense mechanism; for example, by depriving pathogens of a replication niche. The responsibility of handling these dead cells falls on phagocytes of the immune system, which surveil their surroundings for dying or dead cells and efficiently clear them in a quiescent manner. This process, termed efferocytosis, depends on cooperation between the phagocyte and the dying cell. In this review we explore different types of programmed cell death and their impact on innate immune responses.
Published by Elsevier Ltd.