Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Curr Biol. 2000 Jul 13;10(14):857-60.

Differences between the clearance of apoptotic cells by professional and non-professional phagocytes.

Author information

  • 1Medical Research Council Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology, Medical Research Council Developmental Neurobiology Programme, University College London, London, WC1E 6BT, UK.


Both professional and non-professional phagocytes [1] participate in clearing the massive numbers of cells that undergo apoptosis during animal development [2], but it is not known how they divide this task. Using time-lapse recordings of cells in culture, we show that professional phagocytes (brain macrophages or microglia) are highly motile, ingest apoptotic cells immediately, and digest them quickly. Non-professionals such as BHK and lens epithelial cells are sessile, often recognize apoptotic cells as soon as they die by showing characteristic palpating movements, but delay ingestion until several hours later. By pre-ageing apoptotic cells, we show that this delay is because the apoptotic cells must undergo further changes before non-professionals can ingest them. The difference was also apparent in vivo, using immunofluorescence and electron microscopy of the developing central nervous system. This arrangement favours prompt clearance by professionals if present in adequate numbers; if they are scarce, however, non-professional bystanders will reluctantly clear the apoptotic cells.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk