Triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells (TKEM)-1 is a cell surface molecule on neutrophils and monocytes/macrophages implicated in the amplification of inflammatory responses by enhancing degradation and secretion of proinflammatory mediators. Macrophages play an important role in the intestinal mucosal immune system, because they are preferentially localized in the subepithelial region. Despite the presence of enormous numbers of bacteria in the colonie mucosa and the close proximity between mucosal macrophages and luminal bacteria, the intestinal mucosa normally displays minimal signs of inflammation. In this study, we show that the resident macrophage population in normal human small and large intestine contains only few TREM-1-expressing macrophages (<10%), whereas the overwhelming majority of monocytes (>90%) and macrophages from lymph nodes or tonsils (>80%) express TREM-1 on the cell surface. These findings were confirmed by FACS analysis and immunostainings of frozen tissue sections. The differential expression of TREM-1 greatly affects the functional capacities of monocytes and tissue macrophages. Although monocytes and macrophages from spleen, lymph nodes, or tonsils show a substantial increase in oxidative burst after TREM-1 cross-linking, no effect is seen in intestinal macrophages. Intriguingly, in contrast to monocytes, intestinal macrophages fail to up-regulate TREM-1 in response to TNF. This refractory state may be induced in intestinal macrophages by the local presence of IL-10 and TGf-β, because these two immunoregulatory cytokines synergistically down-regulate TREM-1 expression on monocytes in vitro. The absence of TREM-1 expression on lamina propria macrophages is likely to prevent excessive inflammatory reactions, and thus, excessive tissue damage in the intestine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)517-524
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005


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