From inflammation to wound healing: using a simple model to understand the functional versatility of murine macrophages

Bull Math Biol. 2011 Nov;73(11):2575-604. doi: 10.1007/s11538-011-9637-5. Epub 2011 Feb 23.


Macrophages are fundamental cells of the innate immune system. Their activation is essential for such distinct immune functions as inflammation (pathogen-killing) and tissue repair (wound healing). An open question has been the functional stability of an individual macrophage cell: whether it can change its functional profile between different immune responses such as between the repair pathway and the inflammatory pathway. We studied this question theoretically by constructing a rate equation model for the key substrate, enzymes and products of the pathways; we then tested the model experimentally. Both our model and experiments show that individual macrophages can switch from the repair pathway to the inflammation pathway but that the reverse switch does not occur.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Macrophage Activation
  • Macrophages / immunology*
  • Mathematical Concepts
  • Mice
  • Models, Immunological
  • Wound Healing / immunology