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Natural variation of macrophage activation as disease-relevant phenotype predictive of inflammation and cancer survival

Buscher, K;Ehinger, E;Gupta, P;Pramod, AB;Wolf, D;Tweet, G;Pan, C;Mills, CD;Lusis, AJ;Ley, K;

Although mouse models exist for many immune-based diseases, the clinical translation remains challenging. Most basic and translational studies utilize only a single inbred mouse strain. However, basal and diseased immune states in humans show vast inter-individual variability. Here, focusing on macrophage responses to lipopolysaccharide (LPS), we use the hybrid mouse diversity panel (HMDP) of 83 inbred strains as a surrogate for human natural immune variation. Since conventional bioinformatics fail to analyse a population spectrum, we highlight how gene signatures for LPS responsiveness can be derived based on an Interleukin-12 and arginase expression ratio. Compared to published signatures, these gene markers are more robust to identify susceptibility or resilience to several macrophage-related disorders in humans, including survival prediction across many tumours. This study highlights natural activation diversity as a disease-relevant dimension in macrophage biology, and suggests the HMDP as a viable tool to increase translatability of mouse data to clinical settings.

  • PubMed ID: 28737175