Monocytomics Research - Ziegler-Heitbrock


Monocytomics Research

Monocytes develop in the bone marrow from myelo-monocytic stem cells via a common monocyte progenitor (cMoP) and then a pre-monocyte. From bone marrow monocytes go into blood, where they circulate for a few days in order to then migrate into tissues. Cells of this lineage in blood are termed monocytes, once they are in tissue they are called macrophages. In the tissue they immediately start to mature into macrophages. Tissue macrophages are extremely heterogenous dependent on the type of tissue (microglial cells in the brain, alveolar macrophages in the lung, osteoclasts in bone) and on the process (giant cells in granuloma, tumor associated macrophages in malignancy).

In the past monocytes have been studied based on morphology under the microscope or they have been identified based on biophysical properties in hematology cell counters. With the advent of flow cytometry and with the use of monoclonal antibodies a more precise definition of these cells became available. This led in the late 1980ies to the discovery in man of monocyte subsets with different phenotype and function and with diagnostic and prognostic implications. At this point we define classical CD14++CD16- monocytes, non-classical CD14+CD16++ monocytes and intermediate CD14++CD16+ monocytes. Similar phenotypes were soon described for non-human primates and at the turn of the century monocyte subsets were reported in the mouse model, followed by discovery of monocyte subsets in various species including rat and pig.

The literature compiled herein is restricted to native cells in blood from healthy donors and patients without or with treatment. Looking at monocytes as one single population without taking into account the different subsets would give an incomplete and misleading picture of these cells. Therefore this website is restricted to publications, which look at these cells with clear definition of the subsets under study.

Recently mass cytometry and single cell sequencing have begun to expand and refine the definition of subsets of monocytes and this will shape our understanding of these cells in the future.

This page provides protocols and literature regarding monocyte subsets and their precursors in humans and in non-human primates, in mice, rats and pigs and in various other species.