Macrophages are effector cells of the innate immune system that phagocytose bacteria and secrete both pro-inflammatory and antimicrobial mediators. In addition, macrophages play an important role in eliminating diseased and damaged cells through their programmed cell death. Generally, macrophages ingest and degrade dead cells, debris, tumor cells, and foreign materials. They promote homeostasis by responding to internal and external changes within the body, not only as phagocytes, but also through trophic, regulatory, and repair functions. Recent studies demonstrated that macrophages differentiate from hematopoietic stem cell-derived monocytes and embryonic yolk sac macrophages. The latter mainly give rise to tissue macrophages. Macrophages exist in all vertebrate tissues and have dual functions in host protection and tissue injury, which are maintained at a fine balance. Tissue macrophages have heterogeneous phenotypes in different tissue environments. In this review, we focused on the phagocytic function of macrophage-enforcing innate immunity and tissue homeostasis for a better understanding of the role of tissue macrophages in several pathological conditions.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited