Intestinal macrophages at the crossroad between diet, inflammation, and cancer: International Journal of Molecular Sciences

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Intestinal macrophages are key players in the regulation of the oral tolerance, controlling gut homeostasis by discriminating innocuous antigens from harmful pathogens. Diet exerts a significant impact on human health, influencing the composition of gut microbiota and the developing of several non-communicable diseases, including cancer. Nutrients and microbiota are able to modify the profile of intestinal macrophages, shaping their key function in the maintenance of the gut homeostasis. Intestinal disease often occurs as a breakdown of this balance: defects in monocyte–macrophage differentiation, wrong dietary habits, alteration of microbiota composition, and impairment in the resolution of inflammation may contribute to the development of intestinal chronic inflammation and colorectal cancer. Accordingly, dietary interventions and macrophage-targeted therapies are emerging as innovative tools for the treatment of several intestinal pathologies. In this review, we will describe the delicate balance between diet, microbiota and intestinal macrophages in homeostasis and how the perturbation of this equilibrium may lead to the occurrence of inflammatory conditions in the gut. The understanding of the molecular pathways and dietary factors regulating the activity of intestinal macrophages might result in the identification of innovative targets for the treatments of intestinal pathologies. © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-31
Number of pages31
JournalInt. J. Mol. Sci.
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Colorectal cancer
  • Diet
  • Gut
  • Inflammation
  • Intestine
  • Macrophage
  • Microbiota
  • Tumor-associated macrophage
  • alphaVbeta5 integrin
  • B7 antigen
  • CD40 antigen
  • chemokine receptor CCR2
  • chemokine receptor CX3CR1
  • fractalkine
  • interleukin 10
  • interleukin 10 receptor
  • interleukin 6
  • interleukin 8
  • monocyte chemotactic protein 1
  • omega 3 fatty acid
  • retinol
  • saturated fatty acid
  • short chain fatty acid
  • toll like receptor 2
  • trace element
  • transcription factor RUNX3
  • transforming growth factor beta
  • vitamin D
  • cell differentiation
  • colorectal cancer
  • diet therapy
  • dietary fiber
  • down regulation
  • environmental factor
  • gene expression
  • human
  • immune response
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • intestine cell
  • intestine flora
  • intestine infection
  • macrophage
  • missense mutation
  • nonhuman
  • processed meat
  • protein expression
  • protein localization
  • red meat
  • Review
  • tissue repair
  • tumor associated leukocyte
  • upregulation
  • Western diet


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