Macrophages are one of the most abundant leucocytes in the intestinal mucosa where they are essential for maintaining homeostasis. However, they are also implicated in the pathogenesis of disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), offering potential targets for novel therapies. Here we discuss the function of intestinal monocytes and macrophages during homeostasis and describe how these populations and their functions change during infection and inflammation. Furthermore, we review the current evidence that the intestinal macrophage pool requires continual renewal from circulating blood monocytes, unlike most other tissue macrophages which appear to derive from primitive precursors that subsequently self-renew.
Keywords: Homeostasis; Inflammation; Intestine; Macrophages; Monocytes.
Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.