Macrophage polarization in health and disease

Luca Cassetta, Edana Cassol, Guido Poli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Macrophages are terminally differentiated cells of the mononuclear phagocyte system that also encompasses dendritic cells, circulating blood monocytes, and committed myeloid progenitor cells in the bone marrow. Both macrophages and their monocytic precursors can change their functional state in response to microenvironmental cues exhibiting a marked heterogeneity. However, there are still uncertainties regarding distinct expression patterns of surface markers that clearly define macrophage subsets, particularly in the case of human macrophages. In addition to their tissue distribution, macrophages can be functionally polarized into M1 (proinflammatory) and M2 (alternatively activated) as well as regulatory cells in response to both exogenous infections and solid tumors as well as by systems biology approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2391-2402
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • HIV
  • M1/M2
  • Macrophage
  • polarization
  • regulatory macrophages
  • TAMs (tumor-associated macrophages)
  • tumors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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