1932

Abstract

Macrophages are first responders for the immune system. In this role, they have both effector functions for neutralizing pathogens and sentinel functions for alerting other immune cells of diverse pathologic threats, thereby initiating and coordinating a multipronged immune response. Macrophages are distributed throughout the body—they circulate in the blood, line the mucosal membranes, reside within organs, and survey the connective tissue. Several reviews have summarized their diverse roles in different physiological scenarios and in the initiation or amplification of different pathologies. In this review, we propose that both the effector and the sentinel functions of healthy macrophages rely on three hallmark properties: response specificity, context dependence, and stimulus memory. When these hallmark properties are diminished, the macrophage's biological functions are impaired, which in turn results in increased risk for immune dysregulation, manifested by immune deficiency or autoimmunity. We review the evidence and the molecular mechanisms supporting these functional hallmarks.

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2022-04-26
2024-04-20
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