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Cell function in disease: there are more than two parties at play
  1. Jacques Behmoaras1,
  2. Enrico Petretto2,3
  1. 1Department of Medicine, Imperial College London, Hammersmith Hospital, London, UK
  2. 2Faculty of Medicine, Medical Research Council (MRC) London Institute of Medical Sciences, Imperial College London, London, UK
  3. 3Centre for Computational Biology, Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore, Singapore
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jacques Behmoaras, Department of Medicine, Imperial College London, Hammersmith Hospital, London W12 0NN, UK; jacques.behmoaras{at} and Professor Enrico Petretto; enrico.petretto{at}

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In the quest for identification of genes for complex disorders, the functional annotation of disease-risk variants in the relevant cell type remains a challenge. Lescoat and colleagues1 pose the question ‘what is a scleroderma macrophage?’ and in view of current literature (including the study by Moreno-Moral et al2), argued how the heterogeneous range of activated macrophages can vary between target organs of interest and possibly across different fibrotic diseases.

While we share Lescoat’s point of view on the underlying complexity of functional cells in disease, it remains open to debate whether GM-CSF or M-CSF-mediated differentiation conditions of peripheral blood monocytes are sufficient to fully capture the characteristics of these cells in their disease context. As stated by Lescoat et …

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