Inflammatory monocytes and tissue-resident macrophages are key regulators of tissue repair, regeneration, and fibrosis. After tissue injury, monocytes and macrophages undergo marked phenotypic and functional changes to play critical roles during the initiation, maintenance, and resolution phases of tissue repair. Disturbances in macrophage function can lead to aberrant repair, such that uncontrolled production of inflammatory mediators and growth factors, deficient generation of anti-inflammatory macrophages, or failed communication between macrophages and epithelial cells, endothelial cells, fibroblasts, and stem or tissue progenitor cells all contribute to a state of persistent injury, and this could lead to the development of pathological fibrosis. In this review, we discuss the mechanisms that instruct macrophages to adopt pro-inflammatory, pro-wound-healing, pro-fibrotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-fibrotic, pro-resolving, and tissue-regenerating phenotypes after injury, and we highlight how some of these mechanisms and macrophage activation states could be exploited therapeutically.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.