Physical and mechanical regulation of macrophage phenotype and function

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2015 Apr;72(7):1303-16. doi: 10.1007/s00018-014-1796-8. Epub 2014 Dec 12.


Macrophages are tissue-resident immune cells that play a critical role in maintaining homeostasis and fighting infection. In addition, these cells are involved in the progression of many pathologies including cancer and atherosclerosis. In response to a variety of microenvironmental stimuli, macrophages can be polarized to achieve a spectrum of functional phenotypes. This review will discuss some emerging evidence in support of macrophage phenotypic regulation by physical and mechanical cues. As alterations in the physical microenvironment often underlie pathophysiological states, an understanding of their effects on macrophage phenotype and function may help provide mechanistic insights into disease pathogenesis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Atherosclerosis / physiopathology
  • Cell Shape / physiology*
  • Cellular Microenvironment / physiology
  • Humans
  • Macrophages / cytology*
  • Macrophages / physiology*
  • Mechanotransduction, Cellular / physiology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Stress, Mechanical