Similarities and differences in surface receptor expression by THP-1 monocytes and differentiated macrophages polarized using seven different conditioning regimens

Megan A. Forrester, Heather J. Wassall, Lindsay S Hall, Huan Cao, Heather M. Wilson, Robert N. Barker, Mark A. Vickers (Corresponding Author)

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Macrophages are key in orchestrating immune responses to micro-environmental stimuli, sensed by a complex set of surface receptors. The human cell line THP-1 has a monocytic phenotype, including the ability to differentiate into macrophages, providing a tractable, standardised surrogate for human monocyte-derived macrophages. Here we assessed the expression of 49 surface markers including Fc, complement, C-type lectin and scavenger receptors; TIMs; Siglecs; and co-stimulatory molecules by flow cytometry on both THP-1 monocytes and macrophages and following macrophage activation with seven standard conditioning/polarizing stimuli. Of the 34 surface markers detected on macrophages, 18 altered expression levels on activation. From these, expression of 9 surface markers were consistently altered by all conditioning regimens, while 9 were specific to individual polarizing stimuli. This study provides a resource for the study of macrophages and highlights that macrophage polarization states share much in common and the differences do not easily fit a simple classification system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-76
Number of pages19
JournalCellular Immunology
Early online date19 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018



  • Monocyte
  • Macrophage
  • Cell surface
  • Flow cytometry
  • THP-1
  • Polarization

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