What are macrophages?

Macrophages are best known as “big eaters” – phagocytic cells which specialize in engulfing and digesting pathogenic entities. Macrophages are also key immune response regulators, and can exhibit both pro- and anti-inflammatory paracrine activity depending on cell phenotype and environmental conditions.1 Research has attempted to manipulate macrophage behavior to alter immune-related responses, including inflammation, wound healing,2 angiogenesis,3 and anti-cancer activity.4 However, the plasticity of macrophages complicates this endeavor.1 For a broad look into immunotherapy as a whole please visit our dedicated section in our resource center.

1. A. Sica and A. Mantovani. “Macrophage plasticity and polarization: in vivo veritas,” J Clin Invest 122(3): 787-795, 2012.
2. T.J. Koh and L.A. DiPietro. “Inflammation and wound healing: the role of the macrophage,” Expert Rev Mol Med 13:e23, 2011.
3. B.A. Corliss, et al., “Macrophages: An Inflammatory Link between Angiogenesis and Lymphangiogenesis,” Microcirculation 23(2): 95-121, 2016.
4. M. Tariq, et al., “Macrophage Polarization: Anti-Cancer Strategies to Target Tumor-Associated Macrophage in Breast Cancer,” J Cell Biochem 118(9):2484-2501, 2017.