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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2016, Article ID 6591703, 15 pages
Review Article

Epigenetic Control of Macrophage Polarisation and Soluble Mediator Gene Expression during Inflammation

Sir William Dunn school of Pathology, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3RE, UK

Received 18 February 2016; Accepted 28 March 2016

Academic Editor: Eduardo López-Collazo

Copyright © 2016 Theodore S. Kapellos and Asif J. Iqbal. 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.


Macrophages function as sentinel cells, which constantly monitor the host environment for infection or injury. Macrophages have been shown to exhibit a spectrum of activated phenotypes, which can often be categorised under the M1/M2 paradigm. M1 macrophages secrete proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines, such as TNF-α, IL-6, IL-12, CCL4, and CXCL10, and induce phagocytosis and oxidative dependent killing mechanisms. In contrast, M2 macrophages support wound healing and resolution of inflammation. In the past decade, interest has grown in understanding the mechanisms involved in regulating macrophage activation. In particular, epigenetic control of M1 or M2 activation states has been shown to rely on posttranslational modifications of histone proteins adjacent to inflammatory-related genes. Changes in methylation and acetylation of histones by methyltransferases, demethylases, acetyltransferases, and deacetylases can all impact how macrophage phenotypes are generated. In this review, we summarise the latest advances in the field of epigenetic regulation of macrophage polarisation to M1 or M2 states, with particular focus on the cytokine and chemokine profiles associated with these phenotypes.