Targeting Macrophage Subsets for Infarct Repair

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Macrophages are involved in every cardiovascular disease and are an attractive therapeutic target. Macrophage activation is complex and can be either beneficial or deleterious, depending upon its mode of action, its timing, and its duration. An important macrophage characteristic is its plasticity, which enables it to switch from one subset to another. Macrophages, which regulate healing and repair after myocardial infarction, have become a major target for both treatment and diagnosis (theranostic). The aim of the present review is to describe the recent discoveries related to targeting and modulating of macrophage function to improve infarct repair. We will briefly review macrophage polarization, plasticity, heterogeneity, their role in infarct repair, regeneration, and cross talk with mesenchymal cells. Particularly, we will focus on the potential of macrophage targeting in situ by liposomes. The ability to modulate macrophage function could delineate pathways to reactivate the endogenous programs of myocardial regeneration. This will eventually lead to development of small molecules or biologics to enhance the endogenous programs of regeneration and repair.

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