Proteomic Analysis of Human Macrophage Polarization Under a Low Oxygen Environment

J Vis Exp. 2019 Jan 7;(143). doi: 10.3791/58727.


Macrophages are innate immune cells involved in a number of physiological functions ranging from responses to infectious pathogens to tissue homeostasis. The various functions of these cells are related to their activation states, which is also called polarization. The precise molecular description of these various polarizations is a priority in the field of macrophage biology. It is currently acknowledged that a multidimensional approach is necessary to describe how polarization is controlled by environmental signals. In this report, we describe a protocol designed to obtain the proteomic signature of various polarizations in human macrophages. This protocol is based on a label-free quantification of macrophage protein expression obtained from in-gel fractionated and Lys C/trypsin-digested cellular lysis content. We also provide a protocol based on in-solution digestion and isoelectric focusing fractionation to use as an alternative. Because oxygen concentration is a relevant environmental parameter in tissues, we use this protocol to explore how atmospheric composition or a low oxygen environment affects the classification of macrophage polarization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Macrophage Activation / immunology*
  • Macrophages / metabolism*
  • Oxygen / metabolism*
  • Proteomics / methods*


  • Oxygen