Intestinal macrophages: well educated exceptions from the rule

Trends Immunol. 2013 Apr;34(4):162-8. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2013 Mar 13.


Macrophages are the most abundant mononuclear phagocytes in the healthy intestinal lamina propria and have emerged as crucial sentinels for the maintenance of tissue homeostasis. Matching the dynamic mucosal landscape, CX3C chemokine receptor (CX3CR)1-expressing macrophages are relatively short lived, and as opposed to most other tissue macrophages, are continuously replaced from blood monocytes that acquire in the healthy tissue context a robust noninflammatory gene expression signature. By contrast, during gut inflammation, monocytes differentiate in the gut into proinflammatory effector cells, as well as migratory antigen-presenting cells. Manipulation of monocyte fates in the intestine might hold promise for the disease management of inflammatory bowel disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / immunology*
  • CX3C Chemokine Receptor 1
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Gene Expression Regulation / immunology
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Mucosal
  • Intestines / immunology*
  • Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Macrophages / immunology*
  • Mucous Membrane / immunology*
  • Receptors, Cytokine / metabolism
  • Receptors, HIV / metabolism


  • CX3C Chemokine Receptor 1
  • Receptors, Cytokine
  • Receptors, HIV