The biology of nematode- and IL4R¿-dependent murine macrophage polarization in vivo as defined by RNA-Seq and targeted lipidomics

Graham D Thomas, Dominik Rückerl, Benjamin H Maskrey, Mark L Blaxter, Judith E Allen, Phil Whitfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Alternatively activated macrophages (AAM¿) are a major component of the response to helminth infection; however, their functions remain poorly defined. To better understand the helminth-induced AAM¿ phenotype, we performed a systems-level analysis of in vivo derived AAM¿ using an established mouse model. With next-generation RNA sequencing, we characterized the transcriptomes of peritoneal macrophages from BALB/c and IL4R¿(-/-) mice elicited by the nematode Brugia malayi, or via intraperitoneal thioglycollate injection. We defined expression profiles of AAM¿-associated cytokines, chemokines, and their receptors, providing evidence that AAM¿ contribute toward recruitment and maintenance of eosinophilia. Pathway analysis highlighted complement as a potential AAM¿-effector function. Up-regulated mitochondrial genes support in vitro evidence associating mitochondrial metabolism with alternative activation. We mapped macrophage transcription start sites, defining over-represented cis-regulatory motifs within AAM¿-associated promoters. These included the binding site for PPAR transcription factors, which maintain mitochondrial metabolism. Surprisingly PPAR¿, implicated in the maintenance of AAM¿, was down-regulated on infection. PPAR¿ expression, however, was maintained. To explain how PPAR-mediated transcriptional activation could be maintained, we used lipidomics to quantify AAM¿-derived eicosanoids, potential PPAR ligands. We identified the PPAR¿ ligand PGI(2) as the most abundant AAM¿-derived eicosanoid and propose a PGI(2)-PPAR¿ axis maintains AAM¿ during B malayi implantation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e93-e104
Issue number25
Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2012


  • Animals
  • Blood Coagulation
  • Brugia malayi
  • Chemokines
  • Complement System Proteins
  • Cytokines
  • Eicosanoids
  • Filariasis
  • Gene Deletion
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Host-Parasite Interactions
  • Macrophage Activation
  • Macrophages, Peritoneal
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptors
  • RNA
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, Chemokine
  • Receptors, Cytokine
  • Transcriptome


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