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Open AccessReview

Role of Human Macrophage Polarization in Inflammation during Infectious Diseases

by Chiraz Atri 1,2,3, Fatma Z. Guerfali 1,2 and Dhafer Laouini 1,2,*
Institut Pasteur de Tunis, LR11IPT02, Laboratory of Transmission, Control and Immunobiology of Infections (LTCII), Tunis-Belvédère 1002, Tunisia
Université Tunis El Manar, Tunis 1068, Tunisia
Faculté des Sciences de Bizerte, Université de Carthage, 7021 Jarzouna, Tunisia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(6), 1801;
Received: 21 March 2018 / Revised: 4 May 2018 / Accepted: 6 May 2018 / Published: 19 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Macrophages in Inflammation)
Experimental models have often been at the origin of immunological paradigms such as the M1/M2 dichotomy following macrophage polarization. However, this clear dichotomy in animal models is not as obvious in humans, and the separating line between M1-like and M2-like macrophages is rather represented by a continuum, where boundaries are still unclear. Indeed, human infectious diseases, are characterized by either a back and forth or often a mixed profile between the pro-inflammatory microenvironment (dominated by interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, IL-12, IL-23 and Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF)-α cytokines) and tissue injury driven by classically activated macrophages (M1-like) and wound healing driven by alternatively activated macrophages (M2-like) in an anti-inflammatory environment (dominated by IL-10, Transforming growth factor (TGF)-β, chemokine ligand (CCL)1, CCL2, CCL17, CCL18, and CCL22). This review brews the complexity of the situation during infectious diseases by stressing on this continuum between M1-like and M2-like extremes. We first discuss the basic biology of macrophage polarization, function, and role in the inflammatory process and its resolution. Secondly, we discuss the relevance of the macrophage polarization continuum during infectious and neglected diseases, and the possibility to interfere with such activation states as a promising therapeutic strategy in the treatment of such diseases. View Full-Text
Keywords: human macrophage; polarization; M1-like/M2-like; inflammation; infectious diseases; leishmaniasis human macrophage; polarization; M1-like/M2-like; inflammation; infectious diseases; leishmaniasis
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MDPI and ACS Style

Atri, C.; Guerfali, F.Z.; Laouini, D. Role of Human Macrophage Polarization in Inflammation during Infectious Diseases. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19, 1801.

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