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Mucosal Immunol. 2013 Mar;6(2):205-23. doi: 10.1038/mi.2012.139. Epub 2013 Jan 23.

Negative regulation of human mononuclear phagocyte function.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.


At mucosal surfaces, phagocytes such as macrophages coexist with microbial communities; highly controlled regulation of these interactions is essential for immune homeostasis. Pattern-recognition receptors (PRRs) are critical in recognizing and responding to microbial products, and they are subject to negative regulation through various mechanisms, including downregulation of PRR-activating components or induction of inhibitors. Insights into these regulatory mechanisms have been gained through human genetic disease-association studies, in vivo mouse studies utilizing disease models or targeted gene perturbations, and in vitro and ex vivo human cellular studies examining phagocytic cell functions. Although mouse models provide an important approach to study macrophage regulation, human and mouse macrophages exhibit differences, which must be considered when extrapolating mouse findings to human physiology. This review discusses inhibitory regulation of PRR-induced macrophage functions and the consequences of dysregulation of these functions and highlights mechanisms that have a role in intestinal macrophages and in human macrophage studies.

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