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Compr Physiol. 2013 Apr;3(2):785-97. doi: 10.1002/cphy.c120026.

Kupffer cells in the liver.

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Liver Disease Research Center, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.


Kupffer cells are a critical component of the mononuclear phagocytic system and are central to both the hepatic and systemic response to pathogens. Kupffer cells are reemerging as critical mediators of both liver injury and repair. Kupffer cells exhibit a tremendous plasticity; depending on the local metabolic and immune environment, then can express a range of polarized phenotypes, from the proinflammatory M1 phenotype to the alternative/M2 phenotype. Multiple M2 phenotypes can be distinguished, each involved in the resolution of inflammation and wound healing. Here, we have provided an update on recent research that has contributed to the developing delineation of the contribution of Kupffer cells to different types of liver injury, with an emphasis on alcoholic and nonalcoholic liver diseases. These recent advances in our understanding of Kupffer cell function and regulation will likely provide new insights into the potential for therapeutic manipulation of Kupffer cells to promote the resolution of inflammation and enhance wound healing in liver disease.

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