CX3CL1/fractalkine is released from apoptotic lymphocytes to stimulate macrophage chemotaxis

Lucy A Truman, Catriona A Ford, Marta Pasikowska, John D Pound, Sarah J Wilkinson, Ingrid E Dumitriu, Lynsey Melville, Lauren A Melrose, Carol Anne Ogden, Robert Nibbs, Gerard Graham, Christophe Combadiere, Christopher D Gregory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

241 Citations (Scopus)


Cells undergoing apoptosis are efficiently located and engulfed by phagocytes. The mechanisms by which macrophages, the professional scavenging phagocytes of apoptotic cells, are attracted to sites of apoptosis are poorly defined. Here we show that CX3CL1/fractalkine, a chemokine and intercellular adhesion molecule, is released rapidly from apoptotic lymphocytes, via caspase- and Bcl-2-regulated mechanisms, to attract macrophages. Effective chemotaxis of macrophages to apoptotic lymphocytes is dependent on macrophage fractalkine receptor, CX3CR1. CX3CR1 deficiency caused diminished recruitment of macrophages to germinal centers of lymphoid follicles, sites of high-rate B-cell apoptosis. These results provide the first demonstration of chemokine/chemokine-receptor activity in the navigation of macrophages toward apoptotic cells and identify a mechanism by which macrophage infiltration of tissues containing apoptotic lymphocytes is achieved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5026-36
Number of pages11
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2008


  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Burkitt Lymphoma
  • Caspases
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chemokine CX3CL1/metabolism
  • Chemotaxis
  • Humans
  • Lymph Nodes
  • Lymphocytes/cytology
  • Macrophages/physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2


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