Environmental signals at the site of inflammation mediate rapid monocyte mobilization and dictate differentiation programs whereby these cells give rise to macrophages or dendritic cells. Monocytes participate in tissue healing, clearance of pathogens and dead cells, and initiation of adaptive immunity. However, recruited monocytes can also contribute to the pathogenesis of infection and chronic inflammatory disease, such as atherosclerosis. Here, we explore monocyte trafficking in the context of acute inflammation, relying predominantly on data from microbial infection models. These mechanisms will be compared to monocyte trafficking during chronic inflammation in experimental models of atherosclerosis. Recent developments suggest that monocyte trafficking shares common themes in diverse inflammatory diseases; however, important differences exist between monocyte migratory pathways in acute and chronic inflammation.
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