Etiology of lipid-laden macrophages in the lung

E. R. Stevenson, L. C. Smith, M. L. Wilkinson, S. J. Lee, A. J. Gow

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Uniquely positioned as sentinel cells constantly exposed to the environment, pulmonary macrophages are vital for the maintenance of the lung lining. These cells are responsible for the clearance of xenobiotics, pathogen detection and clearance, and homeostatic functions such as surfactant recycling. Among the spectrum of phenotypes that may be expressed by macrophages in the lung, the pulmonary lipid-laden phenotype is less commonly studied in comparison to its circulatory counterpart, the atherosclerotic lesion-associated foam cell, or the acutely activated inflammatory macrophage. Herein, we propose that lipid-laden macrophage formation in the lung is governed by lipid acquisition, storage, metabolism, and export processes. The cellular balance of these four processes is critical to the maintenance of homeostasis and the prevention of aberrant signaling that may contribute to lung pathologies. This review aims to examine mechanisms and signaling pathways that are involved in lipid-laden macrophage formation and the potential consequences of this phenotype in the lung.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110719
JournalInternational Immunopharmacology
StatePublished - Oct 2023
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology


  • Foam cell
  • Immunometabolism
  • Inflammation
  • Lipid
  • Lung
  • Macrophage


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