Intrinsic Gastrointestinal Macrophages: Their Phenotype and Role in Gastrointestinal Motility

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36 Scopus citations


There is an increasing awareness of the role of macrophages in the regulation and maintenance of gastrointestinal function in health and disease. This work has proceeded in the context of an increased understanding of the complex phenotypic variation in macrophages throughout the body and has shown previously unidentified roles for macrophages in diseases such as gastroparesis, postoperative ileus, and inflammatory bowel disease. Opportunities for exploiting the phenotypic modulation of tissue resident macrophages have been identified as possible therapies for some of these diseases. In addition, macrophages are an established component of the innate immune system and can respond to variations and changes in the intestinal microbiome and potentially mediate part of the impact of the microbiota on intestinal health. We reviewed the latest work on novel concepts in defining macrophage phenotype, discuss possible mechanisms of action for tissue-resident macrophages in the gut, address the significance of microbiome effects on macrophage phenotype, and review the known and possible roles of macrophages in motility disorders of the gastrointestinal tract.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-130.e1
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016


  • Enteric Nervous System
  • Gastrointestinal Motility
  • Interstitial Cells of Cajal
  • Monocyte-Macrophage Precursor Cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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