Macrophage Markers




Macrophages (Greek: "big eaters", makros = large, phagein = eat) are cells within the tissues that originate from specific white blood cells called monocytes. Monocytes and macrophages are phagocytes, acting in both nonspecific defence (or innate immunity) as well as specific defense (or cell-mediated immunity) of vertebrate animals. Their role is to phagocytize (engulf and then digest) cellular debris and pathogens either as stationary or mobile cells, and to stimulate lymphocytes and other immune cells to respond to the pathogen.





  • In routine pathological specimens, AM-3K is a useful marker for anti-inflammatory macrophages because these cells can be distinguished from inflammatory or classically activated macrophages. Immunohistochemical staining of routinely processed pathological specimens revealed that AM-3K recognized a specialized subpopulation of macrophages. PMID: 16517975


  • a marker for the differentiation of human macrophage cell lines. PMID: 3119752



Carboxypeptidase M (CPM)

Cathepsin K



  • The soluble form of the CD14 molecule (sCD14), a macrophage activity marker. PMID: 12446022

  • CD14 surface molecule is predominantly expressed by cells of myeloid origin and regarded as a specific marker for macrophages (M phi). PMID: 9286353

CD68 (Ki-M7, Y2/131, Y1/82A, EBM11)


  • a specific marker of macrophages in paraffin-embedded tissue samples. PMID: 15491976

  • Within RA synovium, CD163 has major advantages as a macrophage marker and does not appear to be restricted to "mature" macrophages. CD163 discriminates between synovial macrophages and synovial intimal fibroblasts, which also stain positively for CD68 in diseased tissue. PMID: 12115225

  • CD163 is a marker of activated macrophages. PMID: 16047947

CD163 soluble (sCD163)

CSF-1R (colony-stimulating factor-1 receptor)



EMR1 (epidermal growth factor module-containing mucin-like receptor 1)

  • EMR1 is the best macrophage marker to date and CD14 and CD68 are not macrophage-specific proteins. PMID: 16213494


  • F4/80 is the best macrophage marker to date and CD14 and CD68 are not macrophage-specific proteins. PMID: 16213494

Factor XIII-A


  • The combination of high ferritin level and low percentage of glycosylation may be a marker of excessive macrophage activation. PMID: 12734900


  • pan-macrophage marker. PMID: 2143883

  • a sensitive, specific (with the exception of endothelial cells), and reliable marker of central nervous system macrophages. PMID: 1376020


  • a reliable marker for brain macrophages and microglial cells in routinely processed normal and non-neoplastic tissues. PMID: 1462766

Lysozyme M


  • mannose receptor as a specific marker in flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry for macrophages. PMID: 9000538

Myeloid-related protein (MRP) 14

  • an intracellular protein involved in calcium-dependent activation of myeloid cells, presents a differentiation marker for a subtype of macrophages. PMID: 11205374


  • RFD7 is a marker of mature macrophages, RFD9 is a marker of epithelioid cells and macrophages of germinal centers. PMID: 11354548