During acute inflammation, leukocyte infiltration is mostly neutrophilic, but later monocytes prevail. The majority of inflammatory cells, particularly neutrophilic polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs), become apoptotic at later stages of inflammation and are phagocytosed by neighboring cells, mostly by macrophages. Recently, it has been found that human peripheral blood monocytes also recognize apoptotic cells, which primes them to increased production of interleukin (IL)-10 ? a cytokine known to reduce phagocytes' ability to engulf and kill pathogens. Based on the above, we studied monocytes' ability to phagocytose and kill Staphylococcus aureus while in contact with apoptotic cells. Materials Monocytes isolated by elutriation were co-cultured with apoptotic PMNs or Jurkat cells and exposed to viable, human serum-opsonized S.aureus. To induce apoptosis PMNs were cultured overnight while Jurkat cells were UV-treated. Apoptosis, phagocytosis of bacteria and intracellular superoxide production were measured by flow cytometry. Production of reactive oxygen species was also followed by measurement of chemiluminescence. The bactericidal effect was determined by standard colony forming units method. Data presented show that contact of monocytes with apoptotic neutrophils and Jurkat cells had no influence on monocyte phagocytosis of S. aureus, the generation of reactive oxygen species, or the killing of bacteria.The data obtained suggest that monocytes attracted to the inflammatory site are not deficient in their ability to cope with pathogens after contact with apoptotic cells despite increased production of IL-10.