Immunology

Delicate dancing in the liver

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Science  06 Dec 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6470, pp. 1210-1211
DOI: 10.1126/science.366.6470.1210-d

Kupffer cells are a subset of macrophages lining the sinusoids of the liver. There, they engage in specialized functions, including the consumption and breakdown of erythrocytes. However, the interactions that imprint the tissue-specific phenotype of Kupffer cells is poorly understood. Two groups provide insights into how macrophage progenitors are directed toward this lineage. Bonnardel et al. and Sakai et al. depleted Kupffer cells and then monitored the macrophages that repopulated the liver for clues. Their findings indicate that there is a complex interplay of Kupffer cells with stellate cells, hepatocytes, and sinusoidal endothelium in the perisinusoidal space. These other cell types work to recruit monocytes and then induce and maintain the Kupffer cell phenotype via Notch–bone morphogenetic protein signaling and transforming growth factor–β family ligands.

Immunity 51, 638, 655 (2019).

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