Recognizing death: the phagocytosis of apoptotic cells

Trends Cell Biol. 1998 Sep;8(9):365-72. doi: 10.1016/s0962-8924(98)01329-4.


Although apoptotic cell death is widespread, dying cells are rarely seen in situ because of their rapid clearance by neighbouring phagocytes. Phagocytic recognition of apoptotic cells is less well understood than the death programme itself, but an increasing number of recent studies are highlighting its importance. This review discusses the nature of the receptors that have been implicated in apoptotic cell phagocytosis, the mechanisms of uptake and the immunological consequences of apoptotic cell ingestion.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis*
  • CD36 Antigens / physiology
  • Membrane Proteins*
  • Phagocytosis*
  • Receptors, Immunologic / physiology*
  • Receptors, Lipoprotein*
  • Receptors, Scavenger
  • Scavenger Receptors, Class B


  • CD36 Antigens
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Receptors, Immunologic
  • Receptors, Lipoprotein
  • Receptors, Scavenger
  • Scarb1 protein, mouse
  • Scavenger Receptors, Class B