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Curr Opin Infect Dis. 2019 Jun;32(3):204-209. doi: 10.1097/QCO.0000000000000550.

Metabolic immunomodulation of macrophage functional plasticity in nonhealing wounds.

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Idaho Veterans Research & Education Foundation (IVREF) - Boise VA Medical Center (BVAMC), Boise, Idaho, USA.



Despite modern advances in medicine, nonhealing wounds are the number one cause of nontraumatic, lower-limb amputation. Nonhealing wounds are characterized by a healing process stalled between inflammation and tissue remodel/repair, a stage characterized by a shift in macrophage functional phenotype. Characterization of diversity in macrophage functional phenotype in wounds and metabolic contributions to macrophage polarization are discussed.


Macrophage functional diversity in phenotype has recently evolved from duality (classically activated, pro-inflammatory M1 and alternatively activated, anti-inflammatory M2) to include an additional four alternately activated subphenotypes (M2a, M2b, M2c and M2d). Metabolic pathway utilization shifts characterize macrophage polarization with resulting metabolic and immune outcomes impacting host-pathogen interactions during wound healing.


Recognition of the key role macrophage diversity plays in wound healing, along with better characterization of diverse macrophage phenotypes, will inform our understanding of pathogenicity in wound healing. Comprehensive profiling of the metabolism regulating macrophage polarization and host-pathogen interaction creates opportunity of discovery for innovative new diagnostics and therapeutics for treating nonhealing wounds.

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