’Of mice and men’: Arginine metabolism in human macrophages

Anita C Thomas, Joshua Mattila

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book


Macrophages are involved in inflammation from induction to resolution. Polarization of macrophages along the M1 (classical) or M2(alternative) axis occurs during inflammation and can be at least partly categorized by the route of arginine metabolism within the macrophage, balancing the activities of the arginase and nitric oxide synthase (NOS) enzyme families. Arginase activity is associated with tissue repair responses (via ornithine production and pro-proliferative effects). In contrast, NOS2 generates nitric oxide (NO) species with anti-proliferative effects that is necessary for protection against pathogens and aberrant cells. Other NOS enzymes produce NO that acts in the regulation of smooth muscle tone and other cellular processes. Macrophages preferentially expressing the arginase or NOS2 pathways enzymes also influence T-cell activation, proliferation, signaling, and apoptosis in different ways.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationM1/M2 macrophages: The arginine fork in the road to health and disease
EditorsCharles Mills, Laurel Lenz, Klaus Ley
Place of PublicationUSA
PublisherFrontiers Media S.A.
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)978-2-88919-499-5
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015


  • arginase
  • human macrophage
  • macrophage polarization
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase
  • macrophage activation


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