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Annu Rev Immunol. 2013;31:317-43. doi: 10.1146/annurev-immunol-032712-095906. Epub 2013 Jan 3.

Interleukin-4- and interleukin-13-mediated alternatively activated macrophages: roles in homeostasis and disease.

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Departments of Medicine and Microbiology & Immunology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California, San Francisco, California 94143, USA.


The macrophage, a versatile cell type prominently involved in host defense and immunity, assumes a distinct state of alternative activation in the context of polarized type 2 immune responses such as allergic inflammation and helminth infection. This alternatively activated phenotype is induced by the canonical type 2 cytokines interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-13, which mediate expression of several characteristic markers along with a dramatic shift in macrophage metabolic pathways that influence surrounding cells and tissues. We discuss recent advances in the understanding of IL-4- and IL-13-mediated alternatively activated macrophages and type 2 immune responses; such advances have led to an expanded appreciation for functions of these cells beyond immunity, including maintenance of physiologic homeostasis and tissue repair.

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