The affirmative response of the innate immune system to apoptic cells

Vimal A. Patel, Angelika Longacre-Antoni, Marija Cvetanovic, Daniel J. Lee, Lanfei Feng, Hanli Fan, Joyce Rauch, David S. Ucker, Jerrold S. Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Growing evidence exists for a new role for apoptotic cell recognition and clearance in immune homeostasis. Apoptotic cells at all stages, irrespective of membrane integrity, elicit a signature set of signaling events in responding phagocytes, both professional and non-professional. These signaling events are initiated by receptor-mediated recognition of apoptotic determinants, independently of species, cell type, or apoptotic stimulus. We propose that the ability of phagocytes to respond to apoptotic targets with a characteristic set of signaling events comprises a second distinct dimension of innate immunity, as opposed to the traditional innate discrimination of self vs. non-self. We further propose that a loss or abnormality of the signaling events elicited by apoptotic cells, as distinct from the actual clearance of those cells, may predispose to autoimmunity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)274-280
Number of pages7
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2007


  • Apoptosis
  • Autoimmunity
  • Inflammation
  • Innate immunity
  • Phagocytosis
  • Signal transduction


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