Macrophages are a versatile, heterogeneous group of cells that support multiple systemic functions. Aside from providing the first line of defense against invading pathogens, macrophages have a fundamental role in maintaining tissue integrity and homeostasis. In addition, they may have specialized functions based on their locations and distinct gene expression profiles.
Abnormalities in macrophage functions have been associated with a wide range of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases including obesity and type II diabetes, asthma, atherosclerosis, fibrosis, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis, suggesting that macrophages may serve as therapeutic targets. This possibility, however, requires a greater understanding of the differences in the development, phenotypes, and functions of tissue-resident macrophages.
Download this poster from R&D Systems for a detailed overview of macrophage markers, functions, development, specialization, and activation!