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Cell Mol Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2016 Mar 1;2(2):120-130.e1.

Intrinsic Gastrointestinal Macrophages: Their Phenotype and Role in Gastrointestinal Motility.

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Enteric NeuroScience Program, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Mayo Clinic Rochester, Rochester, MN, 55905, USA.


There is an increasing awareness of the role of macrophages in the regulation and maintenance of gastrointestinal function in health and disease. This work has proceeded in the context of an increased understanding of the complex phenotypic variation in macrophages throughout the body and has revealed previously un-identified roles for macrophages in diseases like gastroparesis, post-operative ileus and inflammatory bowel disease. Opportunities for exploiting the phenotypic modulation of tissue resident macrophages have been identified as possible therapies for some of these diseases. In addition, macrophages are an established component of the innate immune system that can respond to variations and changes in the intestinal microbiome and potentially mediate part of the impact of the microbiota on intestinal health. We reviewed the latest work on novel concepts in defining macrophage phenotype, discuss possible mechanisms of action for tissue-resident macrophages in the gut, address the significance of microbiome effects on macrophage phenotype and review the known and possible roles of macrophages in motility disorders of the gastrointestinal tract.


Enteric Nervous System; Gastrointestinal Motility; Interstitial Cells of Cajal; Monocyte-Macrophage Precursor Cells

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