Macrophage phenotype in response to implanted synthetic scaffolds: an immunohistochemical study in the rat.

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Cells, tissues, organs, ISSN: 1422-6421, Vol: 199, Issue: 2-3, Page: 169-83

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Palmer, Jason A; Abberton, Keren M; Mitchell, Geraldine M; Morrison, Wayne A
S. Karger AG
Medicine; Medicine and Health Sciences
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Macrophages predominate among the cells that directly interact with biomaterials and are key orchestrators of host-biomaterial interactions. However, the macrophage response to synthetic scaffolds in particular has not been well studied. The aim of this study was therefore to characterise the macrophage response to several synthetic scaffolds in the rat using immunohistological techniques for a panel of markers of macrophage subclass or activation, including ED1 (CD68), ED2 (CD163), CD80, mannose receptor and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS). Materials were implanted subcutaneously and collected after 6-8 weeks during the chronic phase of the host response. Unmodified polycaprolactone scaffolds uniquely demonstrated a total lack of both macrophage adherence to surfaces and a wider foreign body response compared to scaffolds composed of poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) and polyurethanes (PURs), with those macrophages present having a clear M2 (MR+, CD80-, iNOS-) phenotype. PLGA scaffolds displayed an M1-dominant (CD80+, iNOS+, MR-) response with substantial foreign body giant cell (FBGC) formation, whilst PUR scaffold FBGCs had a more mixed M1 (CD80+, iNOS+) and M2 (MR+) phenotype. The study also identified that the use of the ED1 antibody in the rat as a pan-macrophage marker is problematic as there is a separate and substantial ED2-positive macrophage population that it does not label, both in response to biomaterials and in normal tissues. The biomaterial-dependent nature of activation for both macrophages and FBGCs was confirmed, and nuanced M1/M2 phenotypes were described.