, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 22–31 | Cite as

The human leukemia cell line, THP-1: A multifacetted model for the study of monocyte-macrophage differentiation

  • J. Auwerx


THP-1 is a human monocytic leukemia cell line. After treatment with phorbol esters, THP-1 cells differentiate into macrophage-like cells which mimic native monocyte-derived macrophages in several respects. Compared to other human myeloid cell lines, such as HL-60, U937, KG-1, or HEL cell lines, differentiated THP-1 cells behave more like native monocyte-derived macrophages. Because of these characteristics, the THP-1 cell line provides a valuable model for studying the mechanisms involved in macrophage differentiation, and for exploring the regulation of macrophage-specific genes as they relate to physiological functions displayed by these cells.

Key words

Atherosclerosis cellular differentiation gene expression foam cells lipoproteins phorbol esters transcription factors 





colony forming unit for the granulocyte-macrophage


colony stimulating factor


IgG Fc receptor

HMG-CoA reductase

3-hydroxy 3-methylglutaryl Coenzyme A reductase






low density lipoprotein


monoclonal antibody


protein kinase C


phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate


tumor necrosis factor-α


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Auwerx
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Developmental BiologyLaboratory of Experimental Medicine and EndocrinologyLeuvenBelgium

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