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Cell death by phagocytosis.

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Peer-reviewed

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Article

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Abstract

Cells can die as a consequence of being phagocytosed by other cells - a form of cell death that has been called phagotrophy, cell cannibalism, programmed cell removal and primary phagocytosis. However, these are all different manifestations of cell death by phagocytosis (termed 'phagoptosis' for short). The engulfed cells die as a result of cytotoxic oxidants, peptides and degradative enzymes within acidic phagolysosomes. Cell death by phagocytosis was discovered by Metchnikov in the 1880s, but was neglected until recently. It is now known to contribute to developmental cell death in nematodes, Drosophila and mammals, and is central to innate and adaptive immunity against pathogens. Cell death by phagocytosis mediates physiological turnover of erythrocytes and other leucocytes, making it the most abundant form of cell death in the mammalian body. Immunity against cancer is also partly mediated by macrophage phagocytosis of cancer cells, but cancer cells can also phagocytose host cells and other cancer cells in order to survive. Recent evidence indicates neurodegeneration and other neuropathologies can be mediated by microglial phagocytosis of stressed neurons. Thus, despite cell death by phagocytosis being poorly recognized, it is one of the oldest, commonest and most important forms of cell death.

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Keywords

Animals, Humans, Cell Death, Phagocytosis, Microglia, Macrophages, Neurons, Mammals

Journal Title

Nat Rev Immunol

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Journal ISSN

1474-1733
1474-1741

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Publisher

Springer Science and Business Media LLC
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None