Recognition of apoptotic cells by macrophages is crucial for resolution of inflammation, immune tolerance, and tissue repair. Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2)/prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) play important roles in the tissue repair process. We investigated the characteristics of macrophage COX-2 and PGE2 expression mediated by apoptotic cells and then determined how macrophages exposed to apoptotic cells in vitro and in vivo orchestrate the interaction between COX-2/PGE2 and HGF signaling pathways. Exposure of RAW 264.7 cells and primary peritoneal macrophages to apoptotic cells resulted in induction of COX-2 and PGE 2. The COX-2 inhibitor NS-398 suppressed apoptotic cell-induced PGE2 production. Both NS-398 and COX-2-siRNA, as well as the PGE 2 receptor EP2 antagonist, blocked HGF expression in response to apoptotic cells. In addition, the HGF receptor antagonist suppressed increases in COX-2 and PGE2 induction. The in vivo relevance of the interaction between the COX-2/PGE2 and HGF pathways through a positive feedback loop was shown in cultured alveolar macrophages following in vivo exposure of bleomycin-stimulated lungs to apoptotic cells. Our results demonstrate that upregulation of the COX-2/PGE2 and HGF in macrophages following exposure to apoptotic cells represents a mechanism for mediating the anti-inflammatory and antifibrotic consequences of apoptotic cell recognition.