Macrophages are versatile cells of the hematopoietic system that display remarkable functional diversity encompassing innate immune responses, tissue development, and tissue homeostasis. Macrophages are present in almost all tissues of the body and display distinct location-specific phenotypes and gene expression profiles. Recent studies also demonstrate distinct origins of tissue-resident macrophages. This emerging picture of ontological, functional, and phenotypic heterogeneity within tissue macrophages has altered our understanding of these cells, which play important roles in many human diseases. In this review, we discuss the different origins of tissue macrophages, the transcription factors regulating their development, and the mechanisms underlying their homeostasis at steady state.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-35
Number of pages11
JournalImmunological Reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


  • Cell differentiation
  • Immune system ontogeny
  • Lineage commitment
  • Monocytes/macrophages


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