Plasticity of antimicrobial and phagocytic programs in human macrophages
Macrophage (MΦ) polarization is triggered during the innate immune response to defend against microbial pathogens, but can also contribute to disease pathogenesis. In a previous study, we found that interleukin‐15 (IL‐15) ‐derived classically activated macrophages (M1 MΦ) have enhanced antimicrobial activity, whereas IL‐10‐derived alternatively activated macrophages (M2 MΦ) were highly phagocytic but lacked antimicrobial activity. Given that the ability to modulate MΦ polarization from M2 MΦ to M1 MΦ may promote a more effective immune response to infection, we investigated the plasticity of these MΦ programs. Addition of IL‐10 to M1 MΦ induced M2‐like MΦ, but IL‐15 had little effect on M2 MΦ. We determined the set of immune receptors that are present on M2 MΦ, elucidating two candidates for inducing plasticity of M2 MΦ, Toll‐like receptor 1 (TLR1) and interferonγ (IFN‐γ) receptor 1. Stimulation of M2 MΦ with TLR2/1 ligand (TLR2/1L) or IFN‐γ alone was not sufficient to alter M2 MΦ phenotype or function. However, co‐addition of TLR2/1L and IFN‐γ re‐educated M2 MΦ towards the M1 MΦ phenotype, with a decrease in the phagocytosis of lipids and mycobacteria, as well as recovery of the vitamin‐D‐dependent antimicrobial pathway compared with M2 MΦ maintained in polarizing conditions. Similarly, treatment of M2 MΦ with both TLR2/1L and anti‐IL‐10 neutralizing antibodies led to polarization to the M1‐like MΦ phenotype and function. Together, our data demonstrate an approach to induce MΦ plasticity that provides the potential for re‐educating MΦ function in human mycobacterial disease to promote host defense and limit pathogenesis.
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