Macrophages are important mediators of inflammation and tissue remodeling. Recent insights into the heterogeneity of macrophage subpopulations have renewed interest in their functional diversity in homeostasis and disease. In addition, their plasticity enables them to perform a variety of functions in response to changing tissue contexts, such as those imposed by aging. These qualities make macrophages particularly intriguing cells given their dichotomous role in protecting against, or accelerating, diseases of the cardiovascular system and the eye, two tissues that are particularly susceptible to the effects of aging. We review novel perspectives on macrophage biology, as informed by recent studies detailing the diversity of macrophage identity and function, as well as mechanisms influencing macrophage behavior that might offer opportunities for new therapeutic strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)825-841
Number of pages17
JournalTrends in Immunology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2019


  • aging
  • disease
  • eye
  • heart
  • heterogeneity
  • macrophage
  • plasticity


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