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Key People:Élie MetchnikoffKarl Albert Ludwig Aschoff...(Show more)Related Topics:white blood cellautophagymacrophagephagocyteKupffer cell...(Show more)

phagocytosis, procedure by which details living cells dubbed phagocytes ingest or engulf other cells or particles. The phagocyte might be a free-living one-celled organism, such together an amoeba, or one of the human body cells, such together a white blood cell. In some creates of animal life, such as amoebas and sponges, phagocytosis is a means of feeding. In higher animals phagocytosis is chiefly a protective reaction against infection and also invasion that the body by international substances (antigens).

Early observations

The existence of foreign particles within cell was first described in the 1860s by pathologist Kranid Slavjansky. In the 1880s Russian-born zoologist and also microbiologist Élie Metchnikoff introduced the term phagocyte in reference to immune cells that engulf and destroy foreign bodies such together bacteria. Metchnikoff likewise recognized the phagocytes beat a major role in the immune response, a discovery that earned him a re-superstructure of the 1908 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.

Types the phagocytes


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Observe the human immune an answer phagocytosis, in which leukocytes ingest or engulf invading microscopic organisms or particles
Learn around the human immune an answer phagocytosis by watching time-lapse photography that a leukocyte, or white blood cabinet (globular structure), spend bacteria.

The particles commonly phagocytosed by white blood cells encompass bacteria, dead tissue cells, protozoa, miscellaneous dust particles, pigments, and also other minute international bodies. In humans, and in vertebrates generally, the most-effective phagocytic cells room two kinds of white blood cells: the macrophages (large phagocytic cells) and also the neutrophils (a kind of granulocyte). The macrophages occur particularly in the lungs, liver, spleen, and also lymph nodes, wherein their duty is to complimentary the airways, blood, and also lymph that bacteria and also other particles. Macrophages additionally are discovered in every tissues together wandering amoeboid cells, and also the monocyte, a precursor the the macrophage, is discovered in the blood. The smaller sized phagocytes are chiefly neutrophils the are lugged along through the circulating blood till they with an area that infected tissue, where they pass through the blood vessel wall surface and lodge in the tissue. Both macrophages and also neutrophils are drawn toward one area of epidemic or inflammation by method of substances offered off by the bacteria and the infected tissue or by a chemistry interaction between the bacteria and also the enhance system that blood serum proteins. Neutrophils may likewise engulf corpuscle after colliding v them accidentally.

Particle adherence


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Learn about staining of bacteria (greenish yellow) and also phagocytes (reddish pink) to aid distinguish the two types of cell from each various other in these images.

Before phagocytosis is accomplished, the phagocyte and also the particle must adhere to every other, the opportunity of i m sorry depends mostly on the chemical nature of the surface of the particle. In the case of bacteria, if the phagocyte cannot adhere directly, protein components of the blood known as opsonins (e.g., complement and also antibodies) form a surface film ~ above bacteria—a process known together opsonization. Phagocytes adhere come the opsonins, and also phagocytosis follows. Encapsulated bacteria space ingested with an ext difficulty. In the absence of certain antibodies that acknowledge the bacteria, opsonization cannot occur, and the bacteria loss phagocytes. The surface of such bacteria room coated v special antibodies just after the human body has mounted an immune an answer to the presence of that details kind that bacterium. Such antibodies are of good importance in establishing immunity come diseases.


Particle engulfment and also digestion

The rate with i beg your pardon a phagocytic cell ingests a particle varies rather with the size of the particle. Tiny particles, such as bacteria or minute seed of charcoal, are ingested nearly instantaneously. Larger objects, such as clumps the bacteria or tissue cells, are phagocytosed over the course of a more-prolonged response. The cell flows roughly the object till it has actually been fully engulfed. The engulfed thing is for this reason enclosed within a membrane-bound vacuole referred to as a phagosome. The phagocyte digests the ingested bit with hydrolytic enzymes, which are included within membrane-enclosed sacs called lysosomes found within the cell. Phagocytic enzymes are secreted right into the vacuole in which cradle takes place. Small organic materials of the particle are supplied to develop larger molecules required by the cell.


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Four methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria (purple) being engulfed by neutrophils (blue), which space a type of human being white blood cell.

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National academy of Allergy and also Infectious Diseases/Centers for an illness Control and also Prevention (CDC)
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