Researchers here provide evidence for microRNA-150 to be a part of the regulatory machinery that determines whether macrophage behavior is inflammatory and damaging, or regenerative and helpful. This is part of a most interesting line of research that examines the various polarizations of macrophages, a polarization being a class of behavior and activity, and their contribution to age-related disease. As aging progresses, an ever large fraction of the macrophage population in many tissues becomes inflammatory and aggressive, hindering regeneration, or promotes unhelpful functions in tissue, such as excessive growth of blood vessels. The exact chain of cause and effect that lies between the known root causes of aging and macrophage dysfunction is yet to be determined, but researchers are making progress in mapping mechanisms that might be used to force macrophages to be less damaging in older individuals.
Macrophages are critical effector cells of the innate immune system. Multiple groups, including our own, have reported that macrophages from aged mice demonstrate a functional drift compared with those isolated from young mice. For example, aged macrophages exhibit epigenomic changes, leading to reduced autophagic capacity, and are defective in their ability to fight viral infections due
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