Monocyte-derived macrophages (MDMs) are key players in tissue homeostasis and diseases regulated by a variety of signaling molecules. Recent literature has highlighted the ability for biogenic amines to regulate macrophage functions, but the mechanisms governing biogenic amine signaling in and around immune cells remain nebulous. In the CNS, biogenic amine transporters are regarded as the master regulators of neurotransmitter signaling. While we and others have shown that macrophages express these transporters, relatively little is known of their function in these cells. To address these knowledge gaps, we investigated the function of norepinephrine transporter (NET) and dopamine transporter (DAT) on human MDMs. We found that both NET and DAT are present and can uptake substrate from the extracellular space at baseline. Not only was DAT expressed in cultured MDMs, but it was also detected in a subset of intestinal macrophages in situ. Surprisingly, we discovered a NET-independent, DAT-mediated immunomodulatory mechanism in response to LPS. LPS induced reverse transport of dopamine through DAT, engaging an autocrine/paracrine signaling loop that regulated the macrophage response. Removing this signaling loop enhanced the proinflammatory response to LPS. Our data introduce a potential role for DAT in the regulation of innate immunity.


Phillip M. Mackie, Adithya Gopinath, Dominic M. Montas, Alyssa Nielsen, Aidan Smith, Rachel A. Nolan, Kaitlyn Runner, Stephanie M. Matt, John McNamee, Joshua E. Riklan, Kengo Adachi, Andria Doty, Adolfo Ramirez-Zamora, Long Yan, Peter J. Gaskill, Wolfgang J. Streit, Michael S. Okun, Habibeh Khoshbouei


Download this citation for these citation managers:

Or, download this citation in these formats:

If you experience problems using these citation formats, send us feedback.