Macrophage clearance of apoptotic cells: A critical assessment
Gordon S., Plüddemann A.
© 2018 Gordon and Plüddemann. As the body continues to grow and age, it becomes essential to maintain a balance between living and dying cells. Macrophages and dendritic cells play a central role in discriminating among viable, apoptotic, and necrotic cells, as selective and efficient phagocytes, without inducing inappropriate inflammation or immune responses. A great deal has been learnt concerning clearance receptors for modified and non-self-ligands on potential targets, mediating their eventual uptake, disposal, and replacement. In this essay, we assess current understanding of the phagocytic recognition of apoptotic cells within their tissue environment; we conclude that efferocytosis constitutes a more complex process than simply removal of corpses, with regulatory interactions between the target and effector cells, which determine the outcome of this homeostatic process.