Role of Macrophages in Autoimmunity
Macrophages contribute to autoimmune diseases and inflammation through their ability to present autoantigens and through their potent effector mechanisms unleashed during innate and acquired cellular and humoral immunity. We describe macrophage receptors that recognize and respond to modified self and foreign ligands, mediating homeostatic clearance of dying cells and their products, as well as altered gene expression, secretion of cytocidal products and host defense against infection. A range of macrophage molecules have been implicated in controlling the balance between tolerance and excessive immune activation. Further studies with macrophage-restricted gene modification are needed to establish a primary role for macrophages in tissue-specific autoimmune diseases. © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.