Macrophages (MPh) and dendritic cells (DC) are members of the mononuclear phagocyte system. In chickens, markers to distinguish MPh from DC are lacking, but whether MPh and DC can be distinguished in humans and mice is under debate, despite the availability of numerous markers. Mucosal MPh and DC are strategically located to ingest foreign antigens, suggesting they can rapidly respond to invading pathogens.This review addresses our current understanding of DC and MPh function, the receptors expressed by MPh and DC involved in pathogen recognition, and the responses of DC and MPh against respiratory and intestinal pathogens in the chicken. Furthermore, potential opportunities are described to modulate MPh and DC responses to enhance disease resistance, highlighting modulation through nutraceuticals and vaccination.
- Dendritic cells