THP-1 cell line: an in vitro cell model for immune-modulation approach : Review

W. Chanput, J.J. Mes, H.J. Wichers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

319 Citations (Scopus)


THP-1 is a human leukemia monocytic cell line, which has been extensively used to study monocyte/macrophage functions, mechanisms, signaling pathways, and nutrient and drug transport. This cell line has become a common model to estimate modulation of monocyte and macrophage activities. This review attempts to summarize and discuss recent publications related to the THP-1 cell model. An overview on the biological similarities and dissimilarities between the THP-1 cell line and human peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) derived-monocytes and macrophages, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of the use of THP-1 cell line, is included. The review summarizes different published co-cultivation studies of THP-1 cells with other cell types, for instance, intestinal cells, adipocytes, T-lymphocytes, platelets, and vascular smooth muscle cells, which can be an option to study cell-cell interaction in vitro and can be an approach to better mimic in vivo conditions. Macrophage polarization is a relatively new topic which gains interest for which the THP-1 cell line also may be relevant. Besides that an overview of newly released commercial THP-1 engineered-reporter cells and THP-1 inflammasome test-cells is also given. Evaluation of recent papers leads to the conclusion that the THP-1 cell line has unique characteristics as a model to investigate/estimate immune-modulating effects of compounds in both activated and resting conditions of the cells. Although the THP-1 response can hint to potential responses that might occur ex vivo or in vivo, these should be, however, validated by in vivo studies to draw more definite conclusions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-45
JournalInternational Immunopharmacology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • pro-inflammatory cytokines
  • necrosis-factor-alpha
  • human monocytic cells
  • toxin-1 and/or lipopolysaccharides
  • tumor-associated macrophages
  • adipose-tissue macrophages
  • human mononuclear-cells
  • human endothelial-cells
  • erk signaling pathway
  • alternative ac

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