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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 13 (2006), Issue 2-4, Pages 273-282
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17402520600834704

Saving Death: Apoptosis for Intervention in Transplantation and Autoimmunity

1Center for Transplant Immunology Research, Loma Linda University & Medical Center, Loma Linda 92354, CA, USA
2Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, School of Medicine, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda 92354, CA, USA
3Transplantation Institute, Loma Linda University Medical Center, Loma Linda 92354, CA, USA

Copyright © 2006 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Long considered immunologically “bland,” apoptotic cells are now recognized as important modulators of immune responses. The role of apoptosis in immunological homeostasis has been inferred from several findings, for example, induction of tolerance after injection of apoptotic cells and the capacity of APCs like macrophages and DCs to induce and maintain tolerance after phagocytosis of dead cells. Processing of apoptotic cells by DCs is of particular interest, because DCs are the only known APCs capable of activating na├»ve T lymphocytes to become effector or regulatory cells. In that regard, recent evidence suggests that phagocytosis of apoptotic cells by DCs can induce Tregs, a finding that has significant implications for the treatment of a variety of immune-mediated inflammatory disorders. Here, we review the relationship between apoptotic cells, DCs, and Tregs, and its impact on prevention of transplant rejection and treatment of autoimmune diseases.