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Studies of apoptotic cell uptake by phagocytes in vitro have implicated a number of different receptors capable of mediating ingestion. However, there is currently little evidence for involvement of any of these candidate receptors in vivo. Previously, we have shown by the use of a blocking mAb against the class A scavenger receptor (SR-A) and thymic macrophages prepared from SR-A null mice, that this receptor is responsible for approximately 50% of the uptake of apoptotic thymocytes in vitro. In this study we have investigated the frequency of dying cells in the thymus of mice lacking SR-A. Our inability to demonstrate increased frequencies of nonphagocytosed Annexin V+, TUNEL+, or propidium iodide+ apoptotic thymocytes suggests there is no deficiency in apoptotic thymocyte clearance in these mice. Even when the rate of thymocyte apoptosis was increased by exposure of receptor-deficient mice to gamma irradiation, we did not detect a difference in the numbers of dying cells compared with similarly treated wild-type animals. This provides the first direct evidence of redundancy in apoptotic cell clearance mechanisms in vivo.


Journal article


J Immunol

Publication Date





4861 - 4867


Animals, Apoptosis, Cell Movement, Flow Cytometry, Immunophenotyping, Lymphocyte Count, Macrophages, Mice, Mice, Inbred ICR, Mice, Knockout, Phagocytosis, Receptors, Immunologic, Receptors, Scavenger, Scavenger Receptors, Class A, T-Lymphocytes, Thymus Gland