Mapping the lung

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Science  15 Mar 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6432, pp. 1154-1155
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaw6775

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Over the past decade, macrophage biology has undergone a revolution with regard to understanding their development and function. Macrophages are resident immune sentinels that reside in all mammalian tissues, where they ingest and digest foreign material and cell remnants and help orchestrate the immune response. Resident macrophages share a number of universal functions, yet transcriptional and functional diversity exists between anatomically distinct macrophage populations, indicating that the tissue microenvironment is an important factor that influences macrophage function (1, 2). On page 1190 of this issue Chakarov et al. (3) identify two populations of interstitial macrophages in the lung. These macrophage subsets were not only phenotypically distinct but also showed apparent differences in their intratissue localization: One population lies close to tissue nerve bundles, whereas the other population is closely associated with blood vessels and plays an important role in maintaining blood vessel integrity and antifibrotic activity during pathology. This provides new insight into the diversity and functional dichotomy of macrophage populations even within a single tissue.