Scavenger receptors in homeostasis and immunity

Nat Rev Immunol. 2013 Sep;13(9):621-34. doi: 10.1038/nri3515. Epub 2013 Aug 9.


Scavenger receptors were originally identified by their ability to recognize and to remove modified lipoproteins; however, it is now appreciated that they carry out a striking range of functions, including pathogen clearance, lipid transport, the transport of cargo within the cell and even functioning as taste receptors. The large repertoire of ligands recognized by scavenger receptors and their broad range of functions are not only due to the wide range of receptors that constitute this family but also to their ability to partner with various co-receptors. The ability of individual scavenger receptors to associate with different co-receptors makes their responsiveness extremely versatile. This Review highlights recent insights into the structural features that determine the function of scavenger receptors and the emerging role that these receptors have in immune responses, notably in macrophage polarization and in the pathogenesis of diseases such as atherosclerosis and Alzheimer's disease.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / immunology
  • Atherosclerosis / immunology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / immunology
  • Homeostasis / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / immunology*
  • Ligands
  • Models, Molecular
  • Scavenger Receptors, Class A / immunology*
  • Scavenger Receptors, Class B / immunology*


  • Ligands
  • Scavenger Receptors, Class A
  • Scavenger Receptors, Class B