Intestinal Macrophages at the Crossroad between Diet, Inflammation, and Cancer

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Intestinal macrophages are key players in the regulation of the oral tolerance, controlling gut homeostasis by discriminating innocuous antigens from harmful pathogens. Diet exerts a significant impact on human health, influencing the composition of gut microbiota and the developing of several non-communicable diseases, including cancer. Nutrients and microbiota are able to modify the profile of intestinal macrophages, shaping their key function in the maintenance of the gut homeostasis. Intestinal disease often occurs as a breakdown of this balance: defects in monocyte-macrophage differentiation, wrong dietary habits, alteration of microbiota composition, and impairment in the resolution of inflammation may contribute to the development of intestinal chronic inflammation and colorectal cancer. Accordingly, dietary interventions and macrophage-targeted therapies are emerging as innovative tools for the treatment of several intestinal pathologies. In this review, we will describe the delicate balance between diet, microbiota and intestinal macrophages in homeostasis and how the perturbation of this equilibrium may lead to the occurrence of inflammatory conditions in the gut. The understanding of the molecular pathways and dietary factors regulating the activity of intestinal macrophages might result in the identification of innovative targets for the treatments of intestinal pathologies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - Jul 8 2020


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