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Current Pharmaceutical Design


ISSN (Print): 1381-6128
ISSN (Online): 1873-4286

Review Article

M1/M2 Macrophages in Diabetic Nephropathy: Nrf2/HO-1 as Therapeutic Targets

Author(s): Robert Clive Landis*, Kim R. Quimby and Andre R. Greenidge

Volume 24 , Issue 20 , 2018

Page: [2241 - 2249] Pages: 9

DOI: 10.2174/1381612824666180716163845

Price: $65


The process of inflammation is orchestrated by macrophages, according to their state of differentiation: thus, classically activated (M1) macrophages initiate the process by elaborating proinflammatory cytokines and reactive oxygen species, whereas the latter phase is controlled by alternatively activated macrophages (M2) to resolve inflammation and promote tissue remodelling with the release of growth factors. In a simple human inflammatory response, such as acute crystal arthropathy, macrophages progress linearly through M1 and M2 phases; however, in chronic inflammatory responses, such as atherosclerosis and Diabetic Nephropathy (DN), both M1 and M2 macrophages may coexist, leading to persistent inflammation and fibrosis.

A key macrophage receptor that regulates conversion from M1 to M2 is CD163, the hemoglobin scavenger receptor. Scavenging of hemoglobin:haptoglobin (Hb:Hp) complexes via CD163 leads to nuclear translocation of the transcription factor Nrf2 (NF-E2-related factor 2), upregulation of heme oxygenase (HO)-1 cytoprotective protein, and release of interleukin (IL)-10 anti-inflammatory cytokine; IL-10 is then linked in a positive feedback loop to further CD163 expression. The potency of this M1/M2 switching pathway is underscored by the fact that human Hp2 polymorphisms are associated with worsened clinical outcomes for diabetic complications, including DN. Parallel observations in animals show that HO-1 activation by hemin protects against DN in rodent models of diabetes.

This review discusses the concept that Nrf2/HO-1 acts as a ‘therapeutic funnel’ through which a range of natural and synthetic anti-oxidants may drive M1 to M2 switching and improved kidney function in diabetes. We also discuss our observations on the evolution of M1/M2 phenotypes in a human model of wound healing which has presented intriguing potential drug targets for DN, such as eotaxin/CCR3.

Keywords: Macrophage, heme oxygenase, pharmacologic target, kidney injury, reactive oxygen species, diabetic nephropathy.

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