Research Topic

Targeting Macrophages in Disease

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Macrophages are essential cells of the innate immune system and play a key role in both normal physiological conditions but also under pathological stress. They are highly plastic, and rapidly under phenotype switch in response to external stimuli. Macrophages have evolutionarily conserved functions including ...

Macrophages are essential cells of the innate immune system and play a key role in both normal physiological conditions but also under pathological stress. They are highly plastic, and rapidly under phenotype switch in response to external stimuli. Macrophages have evolutionarily conserved functions including phagocytosis, migration, and antigen presentation. These cellular processes are crucial during development, tissue homeostasis, tissue repair and immune responses. It is recognized that macrophages are crucial players in the initiation, amplification and resolution phases of the inflammatory response, which makes them attractive therapeutic target in diseases of both acute and chronic inflammation, including sepsis, MI, stroke, cancer, diabetes, obesity, atherosclerosis, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis, among others.

Due to their highly plastic nature, it has been challenging so far to achieve efficient therapeutic strategies directed solely at macrophages. In the last decade, a great number of studies have focused their attention in developing strategies to manipulate, re-educate and even deplete macrophages during disease with varying degrees of success. Nanotechnology-based systems have also provided very encouraging preclinical results. However, there are still several limitations in macrophage-targeted therapies.

The aim of this Research Topic is to gather new information regarding relevant preclinical strategies to target pathological macrophages during disease and describe the pros and cons of these therapeutic interventions compared to current approaches.


Keywords: Macrophage plasticity, vascular inflammation, resolution, diabetic complications, atherosclerosis


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