2017 Volume 40 Issue 11 Pages 1819-1827
Cells that have become unwanted by the body need to be selectively, rapidly, and safely removed. The removal of these cells is achieved by apoptosis-dependent phagocytosis: unwanted cells are induced to undergo apoptosis and given susceptibility to phagocytosis. Phagocytes recognize these cells using engulfment receptors that bind substances expressed on the surface of target cells during the apoptotic process. The phagocytic elimination of cells undergoing apoptosis is a mechanism that is conserved among multicellular organisms. Malfunctions in this process may lead to structural and functional defects in morphogenesis and tissue homeostasis. Therefore, molecules involved in this phenomenon may be targeted in medical treatments. The mechanisms responsible for the apoptosis-dependent phagocytosis of unwanted cells as well as its physiological and pathological consequences are described herein.