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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 2012, Article ID 635451, 19 pages
Review Article

Characteristics of Suppressor Macrophages Induced by Mycobacterial and Protozoal Infections in relation to Alternatively Activated M2 Macrophages

1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Shimane University School of Medicine, Izumo, Shimane 693-8501, Japan
2Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Home Economics, Yasuda Women’s University, Hiroshima 731-0153, Japan

Received 21 December 2011; Revised 22 February 2012; Accepted 23 February 2012

Academic Editor: Nejat Egilmez

Copyright © 2012 Haruaki Tomioka et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In the advanced stages of mycobacterial infections, host immune systems tend to change from a Th1-type to Th2-type immune response, resulting in the abrogation of Th1 cell- and macrophage-mediated antimicrobial host protective immunity. Notably, this type of immune conversion is occasionally associated with the generation of certain types of suppressor macrophage populations. During the course of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) and Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare complex (MAC) infections, the generation of macrophages which possess strong suppressor activity against host T- and B-cell functions is frequently encountered. This paper describes the immunological properties of M1- and M2-type macrophages generated in tumor-bearing animals and those generated in hosts with certain microbial infections. In addition, this paper highlights the immunological and molecular biological characteristics of suppressor macrophages generated in hosts with mycobacterial infections, especially MAC infection.