Macrophage activation and polarization: Nomenclature and Experimental Guidelines

Peter J. Murray*, Judith E. Allen, Subhra K. Biswas, Edward A. Fisher, Derek W. Gilroy, Sergij Goerdt, Siamon Gordon, John A. Hamilton, Lionel B. Ivashkiv, Toby Lawrence, Massimo Locati, Alberto Mantovani, Fernando O. Martinez, Jean Louis Mege, David M. Mosser, Gioacchino Natoli, Jeroen P. Saeij, Joachim L. Schultze, KariAnn Shirey, Antonio SicaJill Suttles, Irina Udalova, Jo A. vanGinderachter, Stefanie N. Vogel, Thomas A. Wynn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Description of macrophage activation is currently contentious and confusing. Like the biblical Tower of Babel, macrophage activation encompasses a panoply of descriptors used in different ways. The lack of consensus on how to define macrophage activation in experiments invitro and invivo impedes progress in multiple ways, including the fact that many researchers still consider there to be only two types of activated macrophages, often termed M1 and M2. Here, we describe a set of standards encompassing three principles-the source of macrophages, definition of the activators, and a consensus collection of markers to describe macrophage activation-with the goal of unifying experimental standards for diverse experimental scenarios. Collectively, we propose a common framework for macrophage-activation nomenclature. The description of macrophage activation status is contentious and confusing. Murray etal. propose a framework for macrophage-activation nomenclature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-20
Number of pages7
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jul 2014


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