In the human body, billions of cells die by apoptosis every day. The subsequent clearance of apoptotic cells by phagocytosis is normally efficient enough to prevent secondary necrosis and the consequent release of cell contents that would induce inflammation and trigger autoimmunity. In addition, apoptotic cells generally induce an anti-inflammatory response, thus removal of apoptotic cells is usually immunologically silent. Since the first discovery that uptake of apoptotic cells leads to transforming growth factor (TGF)-β and interleukin (IL)-10 release by engulfing macrophages, numerous anti-inflammatory mechanisms triggered by apoptotic cells have been discovered, including release of anti-inflammatory molecules from the apoptotic cells, triggering immediate anti-inflammatory signaling pathways by apoptotic cell surface molecules via phagocyte receptors, activating phagocyte nuclear receptors following uptake and inducing the production of anti-inflammatory soluble mediators by phagocytes that may act via paracrine or autocrine mechanisms to amplify and preserve the anti-inflammatory state. Here, we summarize our present knowledge about how these anti-inflammatory mechanisms operate during the clearance of apoptotic cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy