Phenotypic transitions of macrophages orchestrate tissue repair

Am J Pathol. 2013 Nov;183(5):1352-1363. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2013.06.034. Epub 2013 Sep 30.


Macrophages are essential for the efficient healing of numerous tissues, and they contribute to impaired healing and fibrosis. Tissue repair proceeds through overlapping phases of inflammation, proliferation, and remodeling, and macrophages are present throughout this progression. Macrophages exhibit transitions in phenotype and function as tissue repair progresses, although the precise factors regulating these transitions remain poorly defined. In efficiently healing injuries, macrophages present during a given stage of repair appear to orchestrate transition into the next phase and, in turn, can promote debridement of the injury site, cell proliferation and angiogenesis, collagen deposition, and matrix remodeling. However, dysregulated macrophage function can contribute to failure to heal or fibrosis in several pathological situations. This review will address current knowledge of the origins and functions of macrophages during the progression of tissue repair, with emphasis on skin and skeletal muscle. Dysregulation of macrophages in disease states and therapies targeting macrophage activation to promote tissue repair are also discussed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Fibrosis
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Macrophages / pathology*
  • Monocytes / pathology
  • Phenotype
  • Wound Healing*