Macrophages are key in orchestrating immune responses to micro-environmental stimuli, sensed by a complex set of surface receptors. The human cell line THP-1 has a monocytic phenotype, including the ability to differentiate into macrophages, providing a tractable, standardised surrogate for human monocyte-derived macrophages. Here we assessed the expression of 49 surface markers including Fc, complement, C-type lectin and scavenger receptors; TIMs; Siglecs; and co-stimulatory molecules by flow cytometry on both THP-1 monocytes and macrophages and following macrophage activation with seven standard conditioning/polarizing stimuli. Of the 34 surface markers detected on macrophages, 18 altered expression levels on activation. From these, expression of 9 surface markers were consistently altered by all conditioning regimens, while 9 were specific to individual polarizing stimuli. This study provides a resource for the study of macrophages and highlights that macrophage polarization states share much in common and the differences do not easily fit a simple classification system.
Bibliographical noteWe would like to acknowledge the assistance of the Iain Fraser Cytometry Centre at the University of Aberdeen. Funding for this project was provided by the Wellcome Trust (094847).
- Cell surface
- Flow cytometry