• The expanding world of tissue‐resident macrophages

      Jenkins, Stephen J.; email: stephen.jenkins@ed.ac.uk; Allen, Judith E.; email: judi.allen@manchester.ac.uk (2021-06-27)
      Abstract: The term ‘macrophage’ encompasses tissue cells that typically share dependence on the same transcriptional regulatory pathways (e.g. the transcription factor PU.1) and growth factors (e.g. CSF1/IL‐34). They share a core set of functions that largely arise from a uniquely high phagocytic capacity manifest in their ability to clear dying cells, pathogens and scavenge damaged, toxic or modified host molecules. However, macrophages demonstrate a remarkable degree of tissue‐specific functionality and have diverse origins that vary by tissue site and inflammation status. With our understanding of this diversity has come an appreciation of the longevity and replicative capacity of tissue‐resident macrophages and thus the realisation that macrophages may persist through tissue perturbations and inflammatory events with important consequences for cell function. Here, we discuss our current understanding of the parameters that regulate macrophage survival and function, focusing on the relative importance of the tissue environment versus cell‐intrinsic factors, such as origin, how long a cell has been resident within a tissue and prior history of activation. Thus, we reconsider the view of macrophages as wholly plastic cells and raise many unanswered questions about the relative importance of cell life‐history versus environment in macrophage programming and function.