Human and Mouse Mononuclear Phagocyte Networks: A Tale of Two Species?

Front Immunol. 2015 Jun 25:6:330. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2015.00330. eCollection 2015.


Dendritic cells (DCs), monocytes, and macrophages are a heterogeneous population of mononuclear phagocytes that are involved in antigen processing and presentation to initiate and regulate immune responses to pathogens, vaccines, tumor, and tolerance to self. In addition to their afferent sentinel function, DCs and macrophages are also critical as effectors and coordinators of inflammation and homeostasis in peripheral tissues. Harnessing DCs and macrophages for therapeutic purposes has major implications for infectious disease, vaccination, transplantation, tolerance induction, inflammation, and cancer immunotherapy. There has been a paradigm shift in our understanding of the developmental origin and function of the cellular constituents of the mononuclear phagocyte system. Significant progress has been made in tandem in both human and mouse mononuclear phagocyte biology. This progress has been accelerated by comparative biology analysis between mouse and human, which has proved to be an exceptionally fruitful strategy to harmonize findings across species. Such analyses have provided unexpected insights and facilitated productive reciprocal and iterative processes to inform our understanding of human and mouse mononuclear phagocytes. In this review, we discuss the strategies, power, and utility of comparative biology approaches to integrate recent advances in human and mouse mononuclear phagocyte biology and its potential to drive forward clinical translation of this knowledge. We also present a functional framework on the parallel organization of human and mouse mononuclear phagocyte networks.

Keywords: comparative genomics; dendritic cells; macrophages; monocytes; mononuclear phagocyte system.

Publication types

  • Review