The macrophage, a versatile cell type prominently involved in host defense and immunity, assumes a distinct state of alternative activation in the context of polarized type 2 immune responses such as allergic inflammation and helminth infection. This alternatively activated phenotype is induced by the canonical type 2 cytokines interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-13, which mediate expression of several characteristic markers along with a dramatic shift in macrophage metabolic pathways that influence surrounding cells and tissues. We discuss recent advances in the understanding of IL-4-and IL-13-mediated alternatively activated macrophages and type 2 immune responses; such advances have led to an expanded appreciation for functions of these cells beyond immunity, including maintenance of physiologic homeostasis and tissue repair.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-343
Number of pages27
JournalAnnual Review of Immunology
StatePublished - Mar 2013


  • Allergy
  • Helminth
  • Metabolism
  • Th2 cell
  • Type 2 immunity


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