In asthma, an important role for innate immunity is increasingly being recognized. Key innate immune cells in the lungs are macrophages. Depending on the signals they receive, macrophages can at least have an M1, M2, or M2-like phenotype. It is unknown how these macrophage phenotypes behave with regard to (the severity of) asthma. We have quantified the phenotypes in three models of house dust mite (HDM-)induced asthma (14, 21, and 24 days). M1, M2, and M2-like phenotypes were identified by interferon regulatory factor 5 (IRF5), YM1, and IL-10, respectively. We found higher percentages of eosinophils in HDM-exposed mice compared to control but no differences between HDM models. T cell numbers were higher after HDM exposure and were the highest in the 24-day HDM protocol. Higher numbers of M2 macrophages after HDM correlated with higher eosinophil numbers. In mice with less severe asthma, M1 macrophage numbers were higher and correlated negatively with M2 macrophages numbers. Lower numbers of M2-like macrophages were found after HDM exposure and these correlated negatively with M2 macrophages. The balance between macrophage phenotypes changes as the severity of allergic airway inflammation increases. Influencing this imbalanced relationship could be a novel approach to treat asthma.
Draijer, C., Robbe, P., Hylkema, M. N., Boorsma, C. E., & Melgert, B. N. (2013). Characterization of macrophage phenotypes in three murine models of house-dust-mite-induced asthma. Mediators of inflammation, [Article ID 632049]. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/632049