Macrophage proliferation, provenance, and plasticity in macroparasite infection

Dominik Rückerl, Judith E Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Macrophages have long been center stage in the host response to microbial infection, but only in the past 10-15 years has there been a growing appreciation for their role in helminth infection and the associated type 2 response. Through the actions of the IL-4 receptor α (IL-4Rα), type 2 cytokines result in the accumulation of macrophages with a distinctive activation phenotype. Although our knowledge of IL-4Rα-induced genes is growing rapidly, the specific functions of these macrophages have yet to be established in most disease settings. Understanding the interplay between IL-4Rα-activated macrophages and the other cellular players is confounded by the enormous transcriptional heterogeneity within the macrophage population and by their highly plastic nature. Another level of complexity is added by the new knowledge that tissue macrophages can be derived either from a resident prenatal population or from blood monocyte recruitment and that IL-4 can increase macrophage numbers through proliferative expansion. Here, we review current knowledge on the contribution of macrophages to helminth killing and wound repair, with specific attention paid to distinct cellular origins and plasticity potential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-33
Number of pages21
JournalImmunological reviews
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014


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