The evolution of our understanding of macrophages and translation of findings toward the clinic.
Martinez FO., Gordon S.
'There is at bottom only one genuinely scientific treatment for all diseases, and that is to stimulate the phagocytes,' so declaimed Sir Ralph Bloomfield Bonington in The Doctor's Dilemma, Act 1, by George Bernard Shaw (1906). More often nowadays, the need is to calm the phagocytes, given their role in inflammation and tissue damage. In spite of the growth of cellular and molecular information gained from studies in macrophage cell culture, mouse models and, to a lesser extent, human investigations, and the importance of macrophages in pathogenesis in a wide range of chronic disease processes, there is still a substantial shortfall in terms of clinical applications. In this review, we summarize concepts derived from macrophage studies and suggest possible properties suitable for diagnosis, prognosis and selective targeting of macrophage pathogenic functions.