Robinson Research Institute and Adelaide Medical School, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia; The Women's and Children's Hospital, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, North Adelaide, SA 5006, Australia. Electronic address: [Email]
Endometriotic lesion development involves complex interactions between endometrial tissue, the peritoneum and immune cells. Macrophages are essential in this process; however their precise roles are not defined. To investigate whether infiltrating macrophages acquire functionally different phenotypes during lesion development, human endometrial tissues were grafted into immunodeficient mice expressing macrophage-specific green fluorescent protein (GFP). Although the numbers of GFP-positive macrophages were similar in lesions 4, 7, 10 and 14 days after grafting, their surface markers changed over time. Inflammatory markers MHC class II (MHC II) and iNOS were present on 36% and 41% of macrophages respectively early in lesion development at day 4, whereas abundance of tissue remodelling markers peaked later, with arginase 1 most highly expressed on 57% of macrophages at day 7 and scavenger receptor A (CD204) on 66% of macrophages at day 14. This is consistent with a transition from classical M1 macrophage activity to an alternate M2 profile, which correlates to histological hallmarks of initially acute inflammation followed by tissue remodelling during lesion development. This progressive shift in phenotype is likely to be relevant to the mechanisms by which macrophages are central players in endometriosis-like lesion development.