Macrophages clean up: efferocytosis and microbial control

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Microbiology and Physiological Systems



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

Animals; Bacteria; Dendritic Cells; *Host-Pathogen Interactions; Humans; Leishmania; *Macrophages; Mice; Models, Immunological; Neutrophils; *Phagocytosis


Bacterial Infections and Mycoses | Immunoprophylaxis and Therapy | Microbiology | Pathogenic Microbiology


Phagocytic leukocytes, predominantly macrophages, not only ingest and destroy invading pathogens, but are charged with clearing dead and dying host cells. The process of engulfing apoptotic cells is called efferocytosis and has long been appreciated for its role in the resolution of inflammation. New evidence is emerging that efferocytosis represents a double-edged sword in microbial immunity. Although efferocytosis of influenza and Mycobacterium tuberculosis-infected cells results in pathogen destruction, efferocytosis of Leishmania-infected neutrophils may promote infection. Understanding how macrophages, dendritic cells (DC) and neutrophils process pathogens encased within a dying cell could lead to the development of novel therapeutics that simultaneously suppress inflammation and promote pathogen clearance.

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Citation: Curr Opin Microbiol. 2014 Feb;17:17-23. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2013.10.007. : Dec 5. Link to article on publisher's site. Epub 2013 Dec 5.

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Link to Article in PubMed

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