Migration of macrophages is a key process for a variety of physiological functions, such as pathogen clearance or tissue homeostasis. However, it can also be part of pathological scenarios, as in the case of tumor-associated macrophages. This review presents an overview of the different migration modes macrophages can adopt, depending on the physical and chemical properties of specific environments, and the constraints they impose upon cells. We discuss the importance of these environmental and also of cellular parameters, as well as their relative impact on macrophage migration and on the formation of matrix-lytic podosomes in 2D and 3D. Moreover, we present an overview of routinely used and also newly developed assays for the study of macrophage migration in both 2D and 3D contexts, their respective advantages and limitations, and also their potential to reliably mimic in vivo situations.
Keywords: MMP; cell migration; extracellular matrix; macrophages; podosomes; proteases.