Molecular mechanisms that influence the macrophage m1-m2 polarization balance

Front Immunol. 2014 Nov 28:5:614. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2014.00614. eCollection 2014.


As an essential component of innate immunity, macrophages have multiple functions in both inhibiting or promoting cell proliferation and tissue repair. Diversity and plasticity are hallmarks of macrophages. Classical M1 and alternative M2 activation of macrophages, mirroring the Th1-Th2 polarization of T cells, represent two extremes of a dynamic changing state of macrophage activation. M1-type macrophages release cytokines that inhibit the proliferation of surrounding cells and damage contiguous tissue, and M2-type macrophages release cytokines that promote the proliferation of contiguous cells and tissue repair. M1-M2 polarization of macrophage is a tightly controlled process entailing a set of signaling pathways, transcriptional and posttranscriptional regulatory networks. An imbalance of macrophage M1-M2 polarization is often associated with various diseases or inflammatory conditions. Therefore, identification of the molecules associated with the dynamic changes of macrophage polarization and understanding their interactions is crucial for elucidating the molecular basis of disease progression and designing novel macrophage-mediated therapeutic strategies.

Keywords: NLR; SOCS; TLR; innate immune response; macrophage polarization; microRNA.

Publication types

  • Review