RELMα-expressing macrophages protect against fatal lung damage and reduce parasite burden during helminth infection

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Science Immunology  24 May 2019:
Vol. 4, Issue 35, eaau3814
DOI: 10.1126/sciimmunol.aau3814

In the RELMα realm

Alternatively activated macrophages (AAMs) are critical to many different immune responses. Krljanac et al. developed a tool to track and characterize AAMs based on expression of the immunomodulatory protein resistin-like molecule (RELM) α. They generated RELMα reporter/deleter mice and observed that RELMα+ macrophages are enriched in white adipose tissue, gut, and peritoneum at steady state. Primary infection with the helminth Nippostrongylus brasiliensis induces expansion of RELMα+ lung interstitial macrophages but not alveolar macrophages in a STAT6-dependent manner. The presence of RELMα+ macrophages was required for protection from fatal primary infection and resistance against secondary infection. Together, these data define RELMα as a marker of AAMs and reveal its role in defense against helminth infection in the lung.

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