Phagocyte recognition of cells undergoing apoptosis

Immunol Today. 1993 Mar;14(3):131-6. doi: 10.1016/0167-5699(93)90215-7.


A key feature of apoptosis is that cells undergoing this programmed form of death are recognized by phagocytes and ingested while still intact, protecting tissues from the potentially harmful consequences of exposure to the contents of the dying cells. This article reviews recent data which indicate that phagocyte recognition of apoptotic cells as 'senescent-self' involves at least three classes of receptors on the phagocyte surface, while apoptotic cells may display their 'edible' status in a number of different ways.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / growth & development
  • Cell Communication*
  • Humans
  • Lectins / physiology
  • Mice
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Morphogenesis / physiology
  • Oligopeptides / physiology
  • Phagocytes / physiology*
  • Phagocytosis
  • Phosphatidylserines / metabolism
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / physiology


  • Lectins
  • Oligopeptides
  • Phosphatidylserines
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • arginyl-glycyl-aspartic acid