The clearance of dead cells by efferocytosis

Emilio Boada-Romero, Jennifer Martinez, Bradlee L Heckmann, Douglas R Green
Nature Reviews. Molecular Cell Biology 2020, 21 (7): 398-414
Multiple modes of cell death have been identified, each with a unique function and each induced in a setting-dependent manner. As billions of cells die during mammalian embryogenesis and daily in adult organisms, clearing dead cells and associated cellular debris is important in physiology. In this Review, we present an overview of the phagocytosis of dead and dying cells, a process known as efferocytosis. Efferocytosis is performed by macrophages and to a lesser extent by other 'professional' phagocytes (such as monocytes and dendritic cells) and 'non-professional' phagocytes, such as epithelial cells. Recent discoveries have shed light on this process and how it functions to maintain tissue homeostasis, tissue repair and organismal health. Here, we outline the mechanisms of efferocytosis, from the recognition of dying cells through to phagocytic engulfment and homeostatic resolution, and highlight the pathophysiological consequences that can arise when this process is abrogated.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"

We want to hear from doctors like you!

Take a second to answer a survey question.