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J Immunol. 2011 Jun 1;186(11):6191-8. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1004134. Epub 2011 Apr 18.

Participation of the receptor for advanced glycation end products in efferocytosis.

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  • 1Pole Anesthésie Réanimation, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, 80054 Amiens, France.


Clearance of apoptotic cells by macrophages and other phagocytic cells, called efferocytosis, is a central process in the resolution of inflammation. Although the receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE) has been shown to participate in a variety of acute and chronic inflammatory processes in the lungs and other organs, a role for RAGE in efferocytosis has not been reported. In the present studies, we examined the potential involvement of RAGE in efferocytosis. Macrophages from transgenic RAGE(-/-) mice showed a decreased ability to engulf apoptotic neutrophils and thymocytes. Pretreatment of RAGE(+/+) macrophages with advanced glycation end products, which competitively bind to RAGE, or Abs against RAGE diminished phagocytosis of apoptotic cells. Overexpression of RAGE in human embryonic kidney 293 cells resulted in an increased ability to engulf apoptotic cells. Furthermore, we found that incubation with soluble RAGE enhances phagocytosis of apoptotic cells by both RAGE(+/+) and RAGE(-/-) macrophages. Direct binding of RAGE to phosphatidylserine (PS), an "eat me" signal highly expressed on apoptotic cells, was shown by using solid-phase ELISA. The ability of RAGE to bind to PS on apoptotic cells was confirmed in an adhesion assay. Decreased uptake of apoptotic neutrophils by macrophages was found under in vivo conditions in the lungs and peritoneal cavity of RAGE(-/-) mice. These results demonstrate a novel role for RAGE in which it is able to enhance efferocytosis through binding to PS on apoptotic cells.

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