Serotonin modulation of macrophage polarization: inflammation and beyond.

Advances in experimental medicine and biology

PubMedID: 25038996

de Las Casas-Engel M, CorbĂ­ AL. Serotonin modulation of macrophage polarization: inflammation and beyond. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2014;82489-115.
Macrophages display a ample plethora of effector functions whose acquisition is promoted by the surrounding cytokine and cellular environment. Depending on the stimulus, macrophages become specialized ("polarized") for either pathogen elimination, tissue repair and wound healing or immunosuppression. This "polarization" versatility allows macrophages to critically contribute to tissue homeostasis, as they promote initiation and resolution of inflammatory responses. As a consequence, deregulation of the tissue macrophage polarization balance is an etiological agent of chronic inflammation, autoimmune diseases, cancer and even obesity and insulin resistance. In the present review we describe current concepts on the molecular basis and the patho-physiological implications of macrophage polarization, and describe its modulation by serotonin (5-HT), a neurotransmitter that regulates inflammation and tissue repair via a large set of receptors (5-HTR1-7). 5-HT modulates the phenotypic and functional polarization of macrophages, and contributes to the maintenance of an anti-inflammatory state mainly via 5-HTR2B and 5-HTR7, whose activation has a great impact on macrophage gene expression profile. The identification of 5-HTR2B and 5-HTR7 as functionally-relevant polarization markers suggests their therapeutic value in inflammatory pathologies as well as their potential involvement in linking the immune and nervous systems.