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      Alveolar macrophages: plasticity in a tissue-specific context.

      1 , 1
      Nature reviews. Immunology
      Springer Science and Business Media LLC

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          Abstract

          Alveolar macrophages exist in a unique microenvironment and, despite historical evidence showing that they are in close contact with the respiratory epithelium, have until recently been investigated in isolation. The microenvironment of the airway lumen has a considerable influence on many aspects of alveolar macrophage phenotype, function and turnover. As the lungs adapt to environmental challenges, so too do alveolar macrophages adapt to accommodate the ever-changing needs of the tissue. In this Review, we discuss the unique characteristics of alveolar macrophages, the mechanisms that drive their adaptation and the direct and indirect influences of epithelial cells on them. We also highlight how airway luminal macrophages function as sentinels of a healthy state and how they do not respond in a pro-inflammatory manner to antigens that do not disrupt lung structure. The unique tissue location and function of alveolar macrophages distinguish them from other macrophage populations and suggest that it is important to classify macrophages according to the site that they occupy.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Nat Rev Immunol
          Nature reviews. Immunology
          Springer Science and Business Media LLC
          1474-1741
          1474-1733
          Feb 2014
          : 14
          : 2
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Manchester Collaborative Centre for Inflammation Research, University of Manchester, 2nd floor, Core Technology Facility, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PT, UK.
          Article
          nri3600
          10.1038/nri3600
          24445666
          1f73463d-dae6-4960-855c-0faf1c2828eb
          History

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