Cell Origin Dictates Programming of Resident versus Recruited Macrophages during Acute Lung Injury

Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2017 Sep;57(3):294-306. doi: 10.1165/rcmb.2017-0061OC.


Two populations of alveolar macrophages (AMs) coexist in the inflamed lung: resident AMs that arise during embryogenesis, and recruited AMs that originate postnatally from circulating monocytes. The objective of this study was to determine whether origin or environment dictates the transcriptional, metabolic, and functional programming of these two ontologically distinct populations over the time course of acute inflammation. RNA sequencing demonstrated marked transcriptional differences between resident and recruited AMs affecting three main areas: proliferation, inflammatory signaling, and metabolism. Functional assays and metabolomic studies confirmed these differences and demonstrated that resident AMs proliferate locally and are governed by increased tricarboxylic acid cycle and amino acid metabolism. Conversely, recruited AMs produce inflammatory cytokines in association with increased glycolytic and arginine metabolism. Collectively, the data show that even though they coexist in the same environment, inflammatory macrophage subsets have distinct immunometabolic programs and perform specialized functions during inflammation that are associated with their cellular origin.

Keywords: acute lung injury; macrophage metabolism; macrophage programming.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acute Lung Injury / complications
  • Acute Lung Injury / genetics
  • Acute Lung Injury / pathology*
  • Animals
  • Cell Lineage
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Macrophages / pathology*
  • Male
  • Metabolomics
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Pneumonia / complications
  • Pneumonia / genetics
  • Pneumonia / pathology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA


  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation Mediators