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Macrophages and dendritic cells recognize not only microorganisms from outside of the body, but also dying self-cells to eliminate them by engulfment. This clearance prevents the release of potentially harmful or immunogenic intracellular materials from dying cells. Our laboratory is investigating the molecular mechanisms for recognition and phagocytosis of dying cells by phagocytes, and the pathological relevance of impaired phagocytosis to inflammatory disorders including autoimmune diseases.