The effect of Hoxa3 overexpression on macrophage differentiation and polarisation

UoM administered thesis: Phd

  • Authors:
  • Hadeel Alsadoun


The regulated differentiation and polarisation of macrophages are essential for successful wound healing process. During wound repair, macrophages are involved in the early inflammatory process of healing, as well in later regenerative phases by producing cytokines and growth factors relevant for each stage. Their plasticity made macrophages able to change their phenotype from M1 inflammatory during the inflammatory phase of healing to M2 reparative during regenerative phases of healing. Diabetes affects the ability of macrophages to mature from the bone marrow and on their ability to polarise to different phenotypic subsets. Whereas the non-diabetic macrophages can mature normally to M2 macrophages during mid-stages of healing, diabetic wound continues o display immature proinflammatory macrophages resulting in mixed M1/M2 macrophages in the wound that remain until late stages of healing. We previously showed that sustained expression of Hoxa3 reduced the-the excessive number of leukocytes recruited to the wound, suggesting an anti-inflammatory effect of Hoxa3 upon all leukocytes population. Hoxa3 protein transduction also promoted the differentiation of HSC/P into pro-angiogenic Gr1+CD11b+ myeloid cells. Here we showed that Hoxa3 promoted the differentiation of macrophages and upregulated the transcriptional machinery controlling macrophage differentiation, in THP-1 monocytes and primary macrophages from non-diabetic and diabetic mice. Using qRT-PCR and protein analysis of bone marrow derived macrophages from diabetic mice, we showed that Hoxa3 upregulated the master regulator of macrophages differentiation, Pu.1 transcriptionally and post- transcriptionally and that Hoxa3 protein interacted with Pu.1 protein in vitro and in vivo within macrophages proposing a mechanism of their regulation. Hoxa3 also inhibited proinflammatory markers in classically activated macrophages and augmented pro-healing markers in alternatively activated macrophages. Investigating the IL-4/Stat6 pathway of M2 macrophage activation revealed that Hoxa3 upregulated Stat6 and increased Stat6 phosphorylation, a novel effect of Hoxa3 on the signaling pathway of alternative macrophage activation. In vivo analysis of Hoxa3's effect on wound derived macrophages in diabetic mice, confirmed that Hoxa3 promoted the generation of pro-healing macrophages and showed reduced Nos2+ (M1) cells and increased Arg1+ (M2) cells suggesting that Hoxa3 can rescue the phenotype of diabetic macrophages in the wound. Altogether, this work has delineated the specific role of Hoxa3 in rescuing maturation and phenotype of diabetic macrophages thereby providing a better understanding of the therapeutic role of this transcription factor for myeloid cells dysregulation in diabetes.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date1 Aug 2016