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Wiley Interdiscip Rev Syst Biol Med. 2016 Jan-Feb;8(1):87-99. doi: 10.1002/wsbm.1320. Epub 2015 Oct 13.

The macrophage and its role in inflammation and tissue repair: mathematical and systems biology approaches.

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Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Reading, Reading, UK.
Institute for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research and School of Biological Sciences, University of Reading, Reading, UK.


Macrophages are central to the inflammatory response and its ability to resolve effectively. They are complex cells that adopt a range of subtypes depending on the tissue type and stimulus that they find themselves under. This flexibility allows them to play multiple, sometimes opposing, roles in inflammation and tissue repair. Their central role in the inflammatory process is reflected in macrophage dysfunction being implicated in chronic inflammation and poorly healing wounds. In this study, we discuss recent attempts to model mathematically and computationally the macrophage and how it partakes in the complex processes of inflammation and tissue repair. There are increasing data describing the variety of macrophage phenotypes and their underlying transcriptional programs. Dynamic mathematical and computational models are an ideal way to test biological hypotheses against experimental data and could aid in understanding this multi-functional cell and its potential role as an attractive therapeutic target for inflammatory conditions and tissue repair.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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