Macrophages reside in specific territories in organs, where they contribute to the development, homeostasis, and repair of tissues. Recent work has shown that the size of tissue macrophage populations has an impact on tissue functions and is determined by the balance between replenishment and elimination. Macrophage replenishment is mainly due to self-renewal of macrophages, with a secondary contribution from blood monocytes. Self-renewal is a recently discovered trait of macrophages, which can have a major impact on their physiological functions and hence on the wellbeing of the organism. In this review, I discuss our current understanding of the developmental origin of self-renewing macrophages and the mechanisms used to maintain a physiologically stable macrophage pool.
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