Purpose of review
The well recognized plasticity and diversity, typical of monocytes and macrophages have recently been expanded by the knowledge that additional macrophage lineages originated directly from embryonic progenitors, populate and establish residency in all tissues examined so far. This review aims to summarize our current understanding on the diversity of monocyte/macrophage subtypes associated with the vasculature, their specific origins, and nature of their cross-talk with the endothelium.
Taking stock of the many interactions between the endothelium and monocytes/macrophages reveals a far more intricate and ever-growing depth. In addition to circulating and surveilling the endothelium, monocytes can specifically be differentiated into patrolling cells that crawl on the surface of the endothelium and promote homeostasis. The conversion of classical to patrolling is endothelium-dependent uncovering an important functional link. In addition to patrolling cells, the endothelium also recruits and harbor an intimal-resident myeloid population that resides in the tunica intima in the absence of pathological insults. Moreover, the adventitia is populated with resident macrophages that support blood vessel integrity and prevent fibrosis.
The last few years have witnessed a significant expansion in our knowledge of the many subtypes of monocytes and macrophages and their corresponding functional interactions with the vascular wall. In addition to surveying the endothelium for opportunities of diapedeses, monocyte and macrophages take residence in both the intima (as patrolling or resident) and in the adventitia. Their contributions to vascular function are broad and critical to homeostasis, regeneration, and expansion.