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Front. Immunol. | doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2019.02694

Understanding the Heterogeneity of Resident Liver Macrophages

  • 1Singapore Immunology Network (A*STAR), Singapore

Resident tissue macrophages (RTMs) are cells with a high functional plasticity assuming pleiotropic roles in their tissue of residence, from clearance of dead cells and metabolic sensing in steady state to cytokine production and tissue repair during inflammation. The liver has long been considered as only populated by Kupffer cells (KCs), a macrophage population assumed to be in charge of all of these functions. However, we know now that KCs are not the only macrophage population in the liver, that recently was shown to contain also capsular macrophages, monocyte-derived macrophages as well as recruited peritoneal macrophages inherited from previous inflammatory events. These macrophages exhibit different origins, time of establishing residence and locations in the liver, with both ontogenical and environmental factors shaping their identity and functions. Furthermore, liver macrophages reside in a complex environment with a pronounced metabolic zonation. Here, we briefly discuss how these intrinsic and extrinsic factors influence macrophage biology and liver physiology in general. We notably focus on how the recent advances of single cell transcriptomic approaches are changing our understanding of liver macrophages and diseases.

Keywords: Liver, Macrophage - cell, heterogeneity, Single Cell RNA sequencing, monocyte

Received: 03 Oct 2019; Accepted: 01 Nov 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Bleriot and Ginhoux. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Florent Ginhoux, Singapore Immunology Network (A*STAR), Singapore, 138648, SINGAPORE, Singapore, florent_ginhoux@immunol.a-star.edu.sg