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The scavenger endothelial cell: a new player in homeostasis and immunity


Sorensen, KK and McCourt, P and Berg, T and Crossley, C and Le Couteur, D and Wake, K and Smedsrod, B, The scavenger endothelial cell: a new player in homeostasis and immunity, American Journal of Physiology: Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology, 303, (12) pp. R1217-R1230. ISSN 0363-6119 (2012) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2012 the American Physiological Society

DOI: doi:10.1152/ajpregu.00686.2011


To maintain homeostasis, the animal body is equipped with a powerful system to remove circulating waste. This review presents evidence that the scavenger endothelial cell (SEC) is responsible for the clearance of blood-borne waste macromolecules in vertebrates. SECs express pattern-recognition endocytosis receptors (mannose and scavenger receptors), and in mammals, the endocytic Fc gamma-receptor IIb2. This cell type has an endocytic machinery capable of super-efficient uptake and degradation of physiological and foreign waste material, including all major classes of biological macromolecules. In terrestrial vertebrates, most SECs line the wall of the liver sinusoid. In phylogenetically older vertebrates, SECs reside instead in heart, kidney, or gills. SECs, thus, by virtue of their efficient nonphagocytic elimination of physiological and microbial substances, play a critical role in the innate immunity of vertebrates. In major invertebrate phyla, including insects, the same function is carried out by nephrocytes. The concept of a dual-cell principle of waste clearance is introduced to emphasize that professional phagocytes (macrophages in vertebrates; hemocytes in invertebrates) eliminate larger particles (>0.5 μm) by phagocytosis, whereas soluble macromolecules and smaller particles are eliminated efficiently and preferentially by clathrin-mediated endocytosis in nonphagocytic SECs in vertebrates or nephrocytes in invertebrates. Including these cells as important players in immunology and physiology provides an additional basis for understanding host defense and tissue homeostasis. © 2012 the American Physiological Society.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:blood clearance, endocytosis, liver sinusoidal endothelial cell, nephrocyte, scavenger cells
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Immunology
Research Field:Cellular immunology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Clinical health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Crossley, C (Dr Clive Crossley)
ID Code:85195
Year Published:2012
Web of Science® Times Cited:138
Deposited By:Research Division
Deposited On:2013-06-18
Last Modified:2013-09-24

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