Apoptosis in vivo is followed almost inevitably by rapid uptake into adjacent phagocytic cells, a critical process in tissue remodeling, regulation of the immune response, or resolution of inflammation. Phagocytosis of apoptotic cells by macrophages has been suggested to be a quiet process that does not lead to production of inflammatory mediators. Here we show that phagocytosis of apoptotic neutrophils (in contrast to immunoglobulin G-opsonized apoptotic cells) actively inhibited the production of interleukin (IL)-1beta, IL-8, IL-10, granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha, as well as leukotriene C4 and thromboxane B2, by human monocyte-derived macrophages. In contrast, production of transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta1, prostaglandin E2, and platelet-activating factor (PAF) was increased. The latter appeared to be involved in the inhibition of proinflammatory cytokine production because addition of exogenous TGF-beta1, prostaglandin E2, or PAF resulted in inhibition of lipopolysaccharide-stimulated cytokine production. Furthermore, anti-TGF-beta antibody, indomethacin, or PAF receptor antagonists restored cytokine production in lipopolysaccharide-stimulated macrophages that had phagocytosed apoptotic cells. These results suggest that binding and/or phagocytosis of apoptotic cells induces active antiinflammatory or suppressive properties in human macrophages. Therefore, it is likely that resolution of inflammation depends not only on the removal of apoptotic cells but on active suppression of inflammatory mediator production. Disorders in either could result in chronic inflammatory diseases.
V A Fadok, D L Bratton, A Konowal, P W Freed, J Y Westcott, P M Henson
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. All accepted letters will be posted on our website within one week of acceptance. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors of all accepted letters will be asked to preview any changes. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were not accepted. As this is a final decision, no appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.