Chronic inflammatory diseases such as atherosclerosis are characterized by an accumulation of macrophages. To design therapies that would reduce macrophage burden during disease, understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate macrophage removal from sites of resolving inflammation is critical. Although past studies have considered the local death of macrophages or the possibility that they emigrate out of inflammatory foci, methods to quantify death or emigration have never been employed. Here, we applied quantitative competition approaches and other methods to study resolution of thioglycollate-induced peritonitis, the model in which earlier work indicated that emigration to lymph nodes accounted for macrophage removal. We show that migration to lymph nodes occurred in a CC chemokine receptor 7-independent manner but, overall, had a quantitatively minor role in the removal of macrophages. Blocking migration did not significantly delay resolution. However, when macrophages resistant to death were competed against control macrophages, contraction of the macrophage pool was delayed in the apoptosis-resistant cells. These data refute the concept thatmacrophages are dominantly cleared through emigration and indicate that local death controls macrophage removal. This finding alters the emphasis on which cellular processes merit targeting in chronic diseases associated with accumulation of macrophages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2714-2722
Number of pages9
Issue number15
StatePublished - 2013


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