Supplementary Material for: The Elusive Role of Placental Macrophages: The Hofbauer Cell

In this review, we discuss the often overlooked tissue-resident fetal macrophages, Hofbauer cells, which are found within the chorionic villi of the human placenta. Hofbauer cells have been shown to have a phenotype associated with regulatory and anti-inflammatory functions. They are thought to play a crucial role in the regulation of pregnancy and in the maintenance of a homeostatic environment that is crucial for fetal development. Even though the numbers of these macrophages are some of the most abundant immune cells in the human placenta, which are sustained throughout pregnancy, there are very few studies that have identified their origin, their phenotype, and functions and why they are maintained throughout gestation. It is not yet understood how Hofbauer cells may change in function throughout normal pregnancy, and especially in those complicated by maternal gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and viral infections, such as Zika, cytomegalovirus, and human immunodeficiency virus. We review what is known about the origin of these macrophages and explore how common complications of pregnancy dysregulate these cells leading to adverse birth outcomes in humans. Our synthesis sheds light on areas for human studies that can further define these innate regulatory cells.