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Exploring the full spectrum of macrophage activation.

Nature reviews. Immunology

Animals, physiology, immunology, Wound Healing, Macrophages, Macrophage Activation, Inflammation, Immunity, Innate, Humans, Cytokines

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      Abstract

      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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      Most cited references 17

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      Subpopulations of mouse blood monocytes differ in maturation stage and inflammatory response.

      Blood monocytes are well-characterized precursors for macrophages and dendritic cells. Subsets of human monocytes with differential representation in various disease states are well known. In contrast, mouse monocyte subsets have been characterized minimally. In this study we identify three subpopulations of mouse monocytes that can be distinguished by differential expression of Ly-6C, CD43, CD11c, MBR, and CD62L. The subsets share the characteristics of extensive phagocytosis, similar expression of M-CSF receptor (CD115), and development into macrophages upon M-CSF stimulation. By eliminating blood monocytes with dichloromethylene-bisphosphonate-loaded liposomes and monitoring their repopulation, we showed a developmental relationship between the subsets. Monocytes were maximally depleted 18 h after liposome application and subsequently reappeared in the circulation. These cells were exclusively of the Ly-6C(high) subset, resembling bone marrow monocytes. Serial flow cytometric analyses of newly released Ly-6C(high) monocytes showed that Ly-6C expression on these cells was down-regulated while in circulation. Under inflammatory conditions elicited either by acute infection with Listeria monocytogenes or chronic infection with Leishmania major, there was a significant increase in immature Ly-6C(high) monocytes, resembling the inflammatory left shift of granulocytes. In addition, acute peritoneal inflammation recruited preferentially Ly-6C(med-high) monocytes. Taken together, these data identify distinct subpopulations of mouse blood monocytes that differ in maturation stage and capacity to become recruited to inflammatory sites.
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        Macrophages sequentially change their functional phenotype in response to changes in microenvironmental influences.

        Recent studies have described the development of distinct functional subsets of macrophages in association with cancer, autoimmune disease, and chronic infections. Based on the ability of Th1 vs Th2 cytokines to promote opposing activities in macrophages, it has been proposed that macrophages develop into either type 1 inflammatory or type 2 anti-inflammatory subsets. As an alternative to the concept of subset development, we propose that macrophages, in response to changes in their tissue environment, can reversibly and progressively change the pattern of functions that they express. As demonstrated herein, macrophages can reversibly shift their functional phenotype through a multitude of patterns in response to changes in cytokine environment. Macrophages display distinct functional patterns after treatment with IFN-gamma, IL-12, IL-4, or IL-10 and additional functional patterns are displayed depending on whether the cytokine is present alone or with other cytokines and whether the cytokines are added before or concomitantly with the activating stimulus (LPS). Sequential treatment of macrophages with multiple cytokines results in a progression through multiple functional phenotypes. This ability to adapt to changing cytokine environments has significant in vivo relevance, as evidenced by the demonstration that macrophage functional phenotypes established in vivo in aged or tumor-bearing mice can be altered by changing their microenvironment. A concept of functional adaptivity is proposed that has important implications for therapeutic targeting of macrophages in chronic diseases that result in the dominance of particular functional phenotypes of macrophages that play a significant role in disease pathology.
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          Transcriptional Profiling of the Human Monocyte-to-Macrophage Differentiation and Polarization: New Molecules and Patterns of Gene Expression

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            Author and article information

            Journal
            19029990
            10.1038/nri2448
            2724991

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