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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2016, Article ID 8489251, 13 pages
Review Article

Double Roles of Macrophages in Human Neuroimmune Diseases and Their Animal Models

1Department of Neurology and Neuroscience Center, First Hospital of Jilin University, Jilin University, Changchun 130021, China
2Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institute, 141 86 Stockholm, Sweden

Received 26 December 2015; Revised 21 February 2016; Accepted 23 February 2016

Academic Editor: Michal A. Rahat

Copyright © 2016 Xueli Fan 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.


Macrophages are important immune cells of the innate immune system that are involved in organ-specific homeostasis and contribute to both pathology and resolution of diseases including infections, cancer, obesity, atherosclerosis, and autoimmune disorders. Multiple lines of evidence point to macrophages as a remarkably heterogeneous cell type. Different phenotypes of macrophages exert either proinflammatory or anti-inflammatory roles depending on the cytokines and other mediators that they are exposed to in the local microenvironment. Proinflammatory macrophages secrete detrimental molecules to induce disease development, while anti-inflammatory macrophages produce beneficial mediators to promote disease recovery. The conversion of the phenotypes of macrophages can regulate the initiation, development, and recovery of autoimmune diseases. Human neuroimmune diseases majorly include multiple sclerosis (MS), neuromyelitis optica (NMO), myasthenia gravis (MG), and Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) and macrophages contribute to the pathogenesis of these neuroimmune diseases. In this review, we summarize the double roles of macrophage in neuroimmune diseases and their animal models to further explore the mechanisms of macrophages involved in the pathogenesis of these disorders, which may provide a potential therapeutic approach for these disorders in the future.