The innate immune system and the clearance of apoptotic cells

Research output: Unpublished contribution to conferencePoster


Apoptosis, programmed cell death, is used by multicellular organisms to remove cells that are in excess, damaged or diseased. Activation of the apoptosis programme generates "eat me" signals on the surface of the apoptotic cell that mediate recognition and clearance by the innate immune system. CD14, a pattern recognition receptor expressed on macrophages, is widely known for its ability to recognise the pathogen-associated molecular pattern lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and promote inflammation. However, CD14 has also been shown to mediate binding and removal of apoptotic cells in a process that is anti-inflammatory suggesting CD14 is capable of producing two distinct, ligand-dependent macrophage responses. Whilst the molecular basis for this dichotomy has yet to be defined it is clear that CD14 defines a point of interest on the macrophage surface where we may study ligand-specific responses of macrophages. Our work seeks to define the molecular mechanisms underlying the involvement of CD14 in the non-inflammatory clearance of apoptotic cells.

Here we used three different differentiation strategies to generate macrophages from the monocytic cell line THP-1. The resultant macrophage models were characterised to assess the expression and function of CD14 within each model system. Whilst each macrophage model shows increased levels of surface CD14 expression, our results demonstrate significant differences in the various models’ abilities to respond to LPS and clear apoptotic cells in a CD14-dependent manner. TLR4 levels correlated positively with LPS responsiveness but not CD14-dependent apoptotic cell clearance or anti-inflammatory responses to apoptotic cells. These observations suggest CD14-dependent apoptotic cell clearance is not dependent on TLR4.

Taken together our data support the notion that the CD14 ligand-dependent responses to LPS and apoptotic cells derive from changes at the macrophage surface. The nature and composition of the CD14-co-receptor complex for LPS and apoptotic cell binding and responses is the subject of further study.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventSociety for Leukocyte Biology/International Endotoxin & Innate Immunity Society - Vancouver, Canada
Duration: 7 Oct 20109 Oct 2010


ConferenceSociety for Leukocyte Biology/International Endotoxin & Innate Immunity Society


Dive into the research topics of 'The innate immune system and the clearance of apoptotic cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this