Skip to main content

Differential impact of high-salt levels in vitro and in vivo on macrophage core functions.

Molecular biology reports

Authors: Linda Müller, Aya Rafea Nasr, Bettina Jux, Nikola Makdissi, Justin Wayne Trowbridge, Susanne V Schmidt, Joachim L Schultze, Thomas Quast, Jonas Schulte-Schrepping, Waldemar Kolanus, Elvira Mass

The consumption of processed food is on the rise leading to huge intake of excess dietary salt, which strongly correlates with development of hypertension, often leading to cardiovascular diseases such as stroke and heart attack, as well as activation of the immune system. The effect of salt on macrophages is especially interesting as they are able to sense high sodium levels in tissues leading to transcriptional changes. In the skin, macrophages were shown to influence lymphatic vessel growth which, in turn, enables the transport of excess salt and thereby prevents the development of high blood pressure. Furthermore, salt storage in the skin has been linked to the onset of pro-inflammatory effector functions of macrophages in pathogen defence. However, there is only little known about the mechanisms which are involved in changing macrophage function to salt exposure. Here, we characterize the response of macrophages to excess salt both in vitro and in vivo. Our results validate and strengthen the notion that macrophages exhibit chemotactic migration in response to salt gradients in vitro. Furthermore, we demonstrate a reduction in phagocytosis and efferocytosis following acute salt challenge in vitro. While acute exposure to a high-salt diet in vivo has a less pronounced impact on macrophage core functions such as phagocytosis, our data indicate that prolonged salt challenge may exert a distinct effect on the function of macrophages. These findings suggest a potential role for excessive salt sensing by macrophages in the manifestation of diseases related to high-salt diets and explicitly highlight the need for in vivo work to decipher the physiologically relevant impact of excess salt on tissue and cell function.

© 2024. The Author(s).

PMID: 38400845

Participating cluster members