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Using funding from the British Heart Foundation the hCD68-GPF mouse was developed to facilitate the study of macrophage biology in the wider scientific community.  We have made this line commercially available via The Jackson Lab.

The original characterization of this mouse was published in Blood along with a commentary including clear methods for flow cytometric and imaging analysis. An additional characterisation in  the ApoE-/- model of atherosclerosis and Angiotensin II induced vascular inflammation was published in ATVB.


The hCD68-GFP mouse allows both study of monocyte trafficking and longer term monocyte to macrophage differentiation studies.  In contrast to other widely used strains, such as the CX3CR1GFP line, monocytes retain GFP expression after differentiation to mature tissue macrophages.

Key Features:

  • Expression during embryonic development is visible prior to E12.5.
  • Expression in blood, bone marrow and splenic monocytes of both inflammatory (Ly-6CHI ) and patrolling (Ly-6CLO) subsets.
  • GFP expression is maintained and enhanced in differentiated macrophages, allowing clear discrimination above cellular autofluoresence.
  • Limited expression in other myeloid cell types, such as bone marrow neutrophils, fully characterized by reverse gating in blood, bone marrow and spleen.
  • Expressed in atherosclerotic plaque macrophages and foam cells and suitable for en-face imaging.


1. Iqbal, A., McNeill, E., Kapellos, T., Regan-Komito, D., Norman, S., Burd, S., Smart, N., Machemer, D., Stylianou, E., McShane, H., Channon, K., Chawla, A. and Greaves, D. (2014). Human CD68 promoter GFP transgenic mice allow analysis of monocyte to macrophage differentiation in vivo. Blood, 124(15), pp.e33-e44.

2.Soehnlein, O. (2014). Macrophages shine bright. Blood, 124(15), pp.2320-2322.

3.McNeill, E., Iqbal, A., Jones, D., Patel, J., Coutinho, P., Taylor, L., Greaves, D. and Channon, K. (2017). Tracking Monocyte Recruitment and Macrophage Accumulation in Atherosclerotic Plaque Progression Using a Novel hCD68GFP/ApoE −/− Reporter Mouse—Brief Report. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, 37(2), pp.258-263. 

Strain development

Originators: Eileen McNeill, Asif Iqbal, David Greaves, Ajay Chawla, Keith Channon
Transgene: enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) expressed under control of the human CD68 antigen promoter/enhancer sequences.
Production: Pronuclear injection.
Chromosomal Location: 3
Genetic Background: C57bl/6J