Splenic macrophage subsets and their function during blood-borne infections

Henrique Borges Da Silva, Raíssa Fonseca, Rosana Moreira Pereira, Alexandra Anjos Cassado, José Maria Álvarez, Maria Regina D'Império Lima

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The spleen is one of the major immunological sites for maintaining blood homeostasis. Previous studies showed that heterogeneous splenic macrophage populations contribute in complimentary ways to control blood-borne infections and induce effective immune responses. Marginal metallophilic macrophages (MMMΦs) and marginal zone macrophages (MZMΦs) are cells with great ability to internalize blood-borne pathogens such as virus or bacteria. Their localization adjacent to T- and B-cell-rich splenic areas favors the rapid contact between these macrophages and cells from adaptive immunity. Indeed, MMMΦs and MZMΦs are considered important bridges between innate and adaptive immunity. Although red pulp macrophages (RpMΦs) are mainly considered scavengers for senescent erythrocytes, several data indicate a role for RpMΦs in control of infections such as blood-stage malaria as well as in the induction of innate and adaptive immunity. Here, we review current data on how different macrophage subsets recognize and help eliminate blood-borne pathogens, and, in turn, how the inflammatory microenvironment in different phases of infection (acute, chronic, and after pathogen clearance) influences macrophage function and survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number480
JournalFrontiers in immunology
Issue numberSEP
StatePublished - 2015


  • Macrophages
  • Pattern-recognition receptors
  • Phagocytosis
  • Spleen
  • Tissue remodeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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