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Front Immunol. 2014 Aug 1;5:354. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2014.00354. eCollection 2014.

Impaired clearance of apoptotic cells in chronic inflammatory diseases: therapeutic implications.

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Department of Dental Biochemistry, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Debrecen , Debrecen , Hungary.
Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Chung Shan Medical University Hospital , Taichung , Taiwan.
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Debrecen , Debrecen , Hungary.


In healthy individuals, billions of cells die by apoptosis every day. Removal of the dead cells by phagocytosis (a process called efferocytosis) must be efficient to prevent secondary necrosis and the consequent release of pro-inflammatory cell contents that damages the tissue environment and provokes autoimmunity. In addition, detection and removal of apoptotic cells generally induces an anti-inflammatory response. As a consequence improper clearance of apoptotic cells, being the result of either genetic anomalies and/or a persistent disease state, contributes to the establishment and progression of a number of human chronic inflammatory diseases such as autoimmune and neurological disorders, inflammatory lung diseases, obesity, type 2 diabetes, or atherosclerosis. During the past decade, our knowledge about the mechanism of efferocytosis has significantly increased, providing therapeutic targets through which impaired phagocytosis of apoptotic cells and the consequent inflammation could be influenced in these diseases.


apoptotic cell; atherosclerosis; autoimmunity; inflammation; obesity; phagocytosis; therapy; type 2 diabetes

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