Macrophages: supportive cells for tissue repair and regeneration

Immunobiology. 2014 Mar;219(3):172-8. doi: 10.1016/j.imbio.2013.09.001. Epub 2013 Sep 8.


Macrophages, and more broadly inflammation, have been considered for a long time as bad markers of tissue homeostasis. However, if it is indisputable that macrophages are associated with many diseases in a deleterious way, new roles have emerged, showing beneficial properties of macrophages during tissue repair and regeneration. This discrepancy is likely due to the high plasticity of macrophages, which may exhibit a wide range of phenotypes and functions depending on their environment. Therefore, regardless of their role in immunity, macrophages play a myriad of roles in the maintenance and recovery of tissue homeostasis. They take a major part in the resolution of inflammation. They also exert various effects of parenchymal cells, including stem and progenitor cell, of which they regulate the fate. In the present review, few examples from various tissues are presented to illustrate that, beyond their specific properties in a given tissue, common features have been described that sustain a role of macrophages in the recovery and maintenance of tissue homeostasis.

Keywords: 2-AAF; 2-acetylaminofluorene; BMDM; CNS; CSPG; DAMPs; EAE; ECM; EMP; G-CSF; IFNγ; IGF; IL; LPCs; LPS; MMPs; MPC; Macrophages; Progenitor cells; Regeneration; Repair; Resolution of inflammation; SLPI; TGF; TIMP; TNF; TNF-like weak inducer of apoptosis; TWEAK; bone marrow-derived macrophages; central nervous system; chondroitin sulphate proteoglycan; damage associated molecular patterns; erythroblast macrophage protein; experimental auto encephalitis; extracellular matrix; granulocyte-colony stimulating factor; insulin growth factor; interferon; interleukin; lipolysaccharide; liver progenitor cells; matrix metalloproteinases; myogenic precursor cell; secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor; tissue inhibitor of MMP; transforming growth factor; tumour necrosis factor.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Communication
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cellular Microenvironment
  • Guided Tissue Regeneration
  • Homeostasis* / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunity
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Macrophages / immunology*
  • Regeneration* / immunology
  • Wound Healing* / immunology