Cell Biology

Monocytes on the Prowl

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Science  26 Apr 2013:
Vol. 340, Issue 6131, pp. 408-409
DOI: 10.1126/science.340.6131.408-d
CREDIT: ADAPTED FROM L. CARLIN ET AL., CELL 153, 362 (2013)

Monocytes, macrophages, and dendritic cells are a family of cells collectively referred to as the “mononuclear phagocyte system” (MPS) that mediates and regulates inflammation. Cells of the MPS scavenge dead cells and toxic molecules, and kill or contain infectious agents. They are a critical mediator of the inflammatory response, which controls proliferation of microorganisms but they can also damage host tissues. Carlin et al. examined the role of a subset of monocytes, the Ly6Clow population, in mice. Ly6Clow monocytes, which continuously patrol the endothelium of capillaries, were shown to remove cellular debris and microparticles. In kidney tissues that bore the hallmarks of viral infection or cell death, the Ly6Clow cells were retained by the endothelial cells within the capillaries and recruited neutrophils, which mediated necrosis of the endothelial cells, and then the monocytes cleaned up cellular remnants. Thus, these monocytes appear to serve as “intravascular housekeepers,” orchestrating and cleaning up the damage caused by neutrophildependent necrosis of endothelial cells lining the capillaries.

Cell 153, 362 (2013).

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