The Mechanisms and Significance of Apoptotic Cell-Mediated Immune Regulation

  • Erwei Sun
  • Yufang Shi


The discovery of apoptosis has prompted scientists in biology and medicine to explore the mechanisms and clinical significance of this fascinating phenomenon. In the last decade, accumulating evidence has revealed that apoptosis plays a pivotal role in almost every aspect of growth, differentiation and development. Although it is known that apoptotic cells are rapidly scavenged as a means to prevent inflammation, it remains to be determined whether the clearance of apoptotic cells is related to immune regulation. A review of the recent literature combined with our own work shows that apoptosis is not only a programmed and conserved process of cell death, but also exerts unique effects on the immune system, i.e. apoptotic cell-mediated immune regulation (AMIR). It seems that phagocytes, along with their cytokines released upon binding, phagocytosing and processing apoptotic cells, lie at the heart of AMIR. Investigation of AMIR will not only bring about a better understanding of many important physiological and pathological mechanisms, but also provide new hope for patients of transplantation and autoimmune diseases.


Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Apoptotic Cell Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Patient Kupffer Cell Immune Tolerance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Organ Transplantation DepartmentZhujiang HospitalGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Molecular Genetics, Microbiology and ImmunologyUniversity of Medicine and Dentistry of New JerseyPiscatawayUSA

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