Abstract: Alveolar Macrophages (AMs) are unique innate immune cells that reside in the alveolar space and accommodate the ever-changing needs of the lungs against internal and external challenges. During homeostasis, AMs maintain themselves through self-renewal without input from adult hematopoietic stem cells. Currently, little is known regarding the influence of aging on AM dynamics, heterogeneity and transcriptional profiles. Here, we identified CBFβ as an indispensable transcription factor that ensures AM self-renewal. Deficiency in CBFβ led to decreased proliferation and self-renewal ability of AMs. Moreover, with single cell RNA sequencing analysis of AMs from young and aged mice, we discovered that despite similarities in the transcriptome of proliferating cells, AMs from the aged mice exhibited reduced embryotic stem cell-like features. Aged AMs also showed diminished capacity for DNA repair, potentially contributing to impaired cell cycle progression and elevation of senescence markers. In accordance with the analysis, we observed reduced number of AMs in aged mice, which had defective self-renewal ability and were more sensitive to the reduction of GM-CSF. Interestingly, decreased CBFβ was observed in the cytosol of AMs from aged mice. A similar senescence-like phenotype was also found in human AMs. Taken together, we conclude that AMs in the aged host harbor a senescence-like phenotype, potentially mediated by the activity of CBFβ.
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