1995 Volume 58 Issue 2 Pages 243-248
Two categories of cell death related to antigens, apogens and engulfens, have been reported to be expressed by apoptotic cells and the cells involved in their engulfment in the immune system, and in mesenchymal tissue in the limb of the chick embryo (ROTTELLO et al., 1994). To determine whether these antigens are also expressed during the process of neuronal death, the distribution of immunoreactivity to both anti-apogen and anti-engulfen antibodies was examined in the spinal cord and the dorsal root ganglia of the chick embryo.
Anti-apogen antibodies labeled a sub-population of the profiles of dying cells in regions where cell death was occurring. The extent of labeling by anti-apogens varied from 3% to 70% of the total number of dying profiles depending on the specific antibody used and the neuronal region examined. Immunoreactive labeling by the anti-engulfen antibodies mainly involved large cells that contained debris of dead cells.
These results indicate that at least some dying neuronal cells express common antigens that are shared by dying mesenchymal cells during programmed cell death, and that phagocytotic cells of the immune system are involved in the engulfment of neuronal cells that have undergone programmed cell death.