Carboxyl- and amino-functionalized polystyrene nanoparticles differentially affect the polarization profile of M1 and M2 macrophage subsets
Macrophages are key regulators of innate and adaptive immune responses. Exposure to microenvironmental stimuli determines their polarization into proinflammatory M1 and anti-inflammatory M2 macrophages. M1 exhibit high expression of proinflammatory TNF-a and IL-1v, and M2 promote tissue repair, but likewise support tumor growth and cause immune suppression by expressing IL-10. Thus, the M1/M2 balance critically determines tissue homeostasis. By using carboxyl- (PS-COOH) and amino-functionalized (PS-NH2) polystyrene nanoparticles, the effects of surface decoration on the polarization of human macrophages were investigated. The nanoparticles did not compromise macrophage viability nor did they affect the expression of the M1 markers CD86, NOS2, TNF-a, and IL-1v. By contrast, in M2, both nanoparticles impaired expression of scavenger receptor CD163 and CD200R, and the release of IL-10. PS-NH2 also inhibited phagocytosis of Escherichia coli by both, M1 and M2. PS-COOH did not impair phagocytosis by M2, but increased protein mass in M1 and M2, TGF-v1 release by M1, and ATP levels in M2. Thus, nanoparticles skew the M2 macrophage polarization without affecting M1 markers. Given the critical role of the M1 and M2 polarization for the immunological balance in patients with cancer or chronic inflammation, functionalized nanoparticles might serve as tools for reprogramming the M1/M2 polarization.