Although the existence of anti-inflammatory alternatively activated macrophages (aamφ) has been accepted widely based on in vitro studies, their in vivo location, phenotype, and function still are debated. Gaucher disease (GD) is caused by a genetic deficiency in the lysosomal enzyme glucocerebrosidase and is characterized by accumulation of glycosphingolipids in so-called Gaucher cells (GCs). By using immunohistochemical analysis, we investigated whether this results in an aamφ phenotype. GCs are macrophage-like cells, expressing acid phosphatase, CD68, CD14, and HLA class 11, but not CD11b, CD40, or dendritic cell markers. GCs show infrequent immunoreactivity for mannose receptor. GCs did not express proinflammatory cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor α and monocyte chemoattractant protein 1, but did express the aamφ markers CD163, CCL18, and interleukin-1 receptor antagonist. Furthermore, CD36 and signal receptor protein α, involved in lipid uptake, also were observed on GCs. Thus, GCs represent a distinctive population of myeloid cells that resemble aamφ but differ from previously described in vitro aamφ.

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American Journal of Clinical Pathology
Department of Immunology

Boven, L.A, van Meurs, M, Boot, R.G, Mehta, A, Boon, L, Aerts, J.M.F.G, & Laman, J.D. (2004). Gaucher cells demonstrate a distinct macrophage phenotype and resemble alternatively activated macrophages. American Journal of Clinical Pathology, 122(3), 359–369. doi:10.1309/BG5V-A8JR-DQH1-M7HN