Expression of macrophage-selective markers in human and rodent adipocytes

FEBS Lett. 2005 Oct 24;579(25):5631-4. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2005.09.032. Epub 2005 Sep 29.


CD14, CD68 and/or mouse F4/80 or human epidermal growth factor module-containing mucin-like receptor 1 (EMR1) are widely used as macrophage-specific markers. Since macrophages infiltrate several tissues during inflammatory processes, CD14, CD68 and EMR1-F4/80 have been employed to discriminate between tissue-containing macrophages, like adipose tissue (AT), and other cells. Using real-time PCR experiments, we show that isolated adipocytes from humans and mice AT express high levels of CD14 and CD68 mRNA, whereas EMR1-F4/80 is mainly present in the macrophage-containing stroma-vascular fraction. Furthermore, fibroblasts-like cells (adipoblasts), preadipocytes and adipocytes from the murine cell lines, 3T3-F442A and BFC-1, express CD14 and CD68 mRNA and protein as determined by fluorescence-activated cell sorter, but not F4/80 which, as expected, is strongly expressed in the macrophage cell line RAW264.7. These results reinforce the view that EMR1-F4/80 is the best macrophage marker to date and show that CD14 and CD68 are not macrophage-specific proteins.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / chemistry
  • Adipocytes / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD / genetics
  • Antigens, Differentiation / genetics
  • Antigens, Differentiation / metabolism*
  • Antigens, Differentiation, Myelomonocytic / genetics
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Lipopolysaccharide Receptors / genetics
  • Macrophages / chemistry
  • Macrophages / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mucins / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled


  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Differentiation
  • Antigens, Differentiation, Myelomonocytic
  • Biomarkers
  • CD68 antigen, human
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • EMR1 protein, human
  • Lipopolysaccharide Receptors
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Mucins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • monocyte-macrophage differentiation antigen