Phagocytosis: a review

CRC Critical Reviews in Toxicology
M N Walters, J M Papadimitriou


Primitive unicellular organisms depend greatly on internalization of particulate matter for nourishment. In metazoa, this process is further developed to play a major role in mechanisms of defense. This review analyzes, mainly in mammalian systems, the various phenomena surrounding the phagocytic act. Much of the emphasis is placed on experimental work which has recently elucidated some of its features. Both the structural and functional aspects of phagocytosis are considered throughout the review, which is subdivided into an examination of chemotaxis and the various agents inducing it, the mode of recognition of particles to be phagocytized, and the mechanisms of ingestion. The last includes a discussion of the possible means whereby recognition is translated into ingestion, the modes of adhesion of particles onto the surface of phagocytes, the formation and fusion of pseudopodia during engulfment and ingestion, and process and significance of degranulation. In addition, the metabolic changes in phagocytes during the processes of chemotaxis, ingestion, and digestion are described. A discussion of the various ways phagocytes may destroy microorganisms incorporates an appreciation of the importance of the microbicidal action of ...Continue Reading


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