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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the author’s final published version in Clinical and Translational Medicine

Volume 4, Issue 1, February 2015, Article number 2.

The published version is available at DOI: 10.1186/s40169-015-0047-4. Copyright © Wermuth et al.


The systemic and organ-specific human fibrotic disorders collectively represent one of the most serious health problems world-wide causing a large proportion of the total world population mortality. The molecular pathways involved in their pathogenesis are complex and despite intensive investigations have not been fully elucidated. Whereas chronic inflammatory cell infiltration is universally present in fibrotic lesions, the central role of monocytes and macrophages as regulators of inflammation and fibrosis has only recently become apparent. However, the precise mechanisms involved in the contribution of monocytes/macrophages to the initiation, establishment, or progression of the fibrotic process remain largely unknown. Several monocyte and macrophage subpopulations have been identified, with certain phenotypes promoting inflammation whereas others display profibrotic effects. Given the unmet need for effective treatments for fibroproliferative diseases and the crucial regulatory role of monocyte/macrophage subpopulations in fibrogenesis, the development of therapeutic strategies that target specific monocyte/macrophage subpopulations has become increasingly attractive. We will provide here an overview of the current understanding of the role of monocyte/macrophage phenotype subpopulations in animal models of tissue fibrosis and in various systemic and organ-specific human fibrotic diseases. Furthermore, we will discuss recent approaches to the design of effective anti-fibrotic therapeutic interventions by targeting the phenotypic differences identified between the various monocyte and macrophage subpopulations.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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