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      Neuroinflammation and M2 microglia: the good, the bad, and the inflamed

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          Abstract

          The concept of multiple macrophage activation states is not new. However, extending this idea to resident tissue macrophages, like microglia, has gained increased interest in recent years. Unfortunately, the research on peripheral macrophage polarization does not necessarily translate accurately to their central nervous system (CNS) counterparts. Even though pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines can polarize microglia to distinct activation states, the specific functions of these states is still an area of intense debate. This review examines the multiple possible activation states microglia can be polarized to. This is followed by a detailed description of microglial polarization and the functional relevance of this process in both acute and chronic CNS disease models described in the literature. Particular attention is given to utilizing M2 microglial polarization as a potential therapeutic option in treating diseases.

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          Exploring the full spectrum of macrophage activation.

          Macrophages display remarkable plasticity and can change their physiology in response to environmental cues. These changes can give rise to different populations of cells with distinct functions. In this Review we suggest a new grouping of macrophage populations based on three different homeostatic activities - host defence, wound healing and immune regulation. We propose that similarly to primary colours, these three basic macrophage populations can blend into various other 'shades' of activation. We characterize each population and provide examples of macrophages from specific disease states that have the characteristics of one or more of these populations.
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            The chemokine system in diverse forms of macrophage activation and polarization.

            Plasticity and functional polarization are hallmarks of the mononuclear phagocyte system. Here we review emerging key properties of different forms of macrophage activation and polarization (M1, M2a, M2b, M2c), which represent extremes of a continuum. In particular, recent evidence suggests that differential modulation of the chemokine system integrates polarized macrophages in pathways of resistance to, or promotion of, microbial pathogens and tumors, or immunoregulation, tissue repair and remodeling.
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              Macrophage plasticity and polarization: in vivo veritas.

              Diversity and plasticity are hallmarks of cells of the monocyte-macrophage lineage. In response to IFNs, Toll-like receptor engagement, or IL-4/IL-13 signaling, macrophages undergo M1 (classical) or M2 (alternative) activation, which represent extremes of a continuum in a universe of activation states. Progress has now been made in defining the signaling pathways, transcriptional networks, and epigenetic mechanisms underlying M1-M2 or M2-like polarized activation. Functional skewing of mononuclear phagocytes occurs in vivo under physiological conditions (e.g., ontogenesis and pregnancy) and in pathology (allergic and chronic inflammation, tissue repair, infection, and cancer). However, in selected preclinical and clinical conditions, coexistence of cells in different activation states and unique or mixed phenotypes have been observed, a reflection of dynamic changes and complex tissue-derived signals. The identification of mechanisms and molecules associated with macrophage plasticity and polarized activation provides a basis for macrophage-centered diagnostic and therapeutic strategies.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                J Neuroinflammation
                J Neuroinflammation
                Journal of Neuroinflammation
                BioMed Central
                1742-2094
                2014
                3 June 2014
                : 11
                : 98
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY 14642, USA
                [2 ]Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY 14642, USA
                Article
                1742-2094-11-98
                10.1186/1742-2094-11-98
                4060849
                24889886
                Copyright © 2014 Cherry et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                Categories
                Review

                Neurosciences

                neuroinflammation, alternative activation, m2, microglia

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