Monday, February 8, 2016

Phagocytes, Monocytes, Macrophages, Histiocytes?! What's the difference between them?

Hey guys!

If you've always found it difficult to make a distinction between those terms about wha they mean then this post is for you. Let's  just settle it once and for all.



First lets make the differentiation between macrophages and phagocytes.
Phagocytes comprise of a lot of white blood cells like Neutrophils, Monocytes, Mast cells, Macrophages and Dendritic cells.
So basically saying all Macrophages are Phagocytes.
But all Phagocytes are not Macrophages.

The Monocytes are the blood cells present in the blood.

Oh really? what else? The earth is round? Jeez! Just read on.

They are the cells that are formed in the Bone marrow from the Myeloid cell line and then released into the blood.

These monocytes enter the tissues when theres an insult or attack. And once they enter the tissues they are known as histiocytes (etymology histo-tissue;cyte-cell)

These histiocytes upon entering the tissues can be Macrophages or Dendritic cells
So basically Monocytes=Histiocytes=Macrophages+Dendritic cells

The differences between macrophages and dendritic cells are both structural and functional.

More important are the macrophages obviously.
The monocytes forming the macrophages are called as the Monocyte-Macrophage system.
The main functions are
1.Phagocytosis
2.Antigen presentation to the lymphocytes
3.Recruitment of lymphocytes

The macrophages have different name in different tissues but basically all are Macrophages.
Bone Marrow/Blood- Monocytes
Liver- Kuppfer cells
Lymph Node- Sinus Histiocyte
Lung alveoli- Alveolar macrophages or Dust cells
Skin/Mucosa- Langerhans cells
CNS- Microglia
Placenta- Hoffbauer cell
Kidney- Intraglomerular mesangial cells
Bone- Osteclasts
Granulomas- Epitheloid cells
Spleen red pulp- Red pulp macrophages (sinusoidal lining cells)
Peritoneum- Peritoneal lining cells
GIT- M cells

Its all macrophage but it just takes different forms. Like a super spy. Like James Bond.
And yes it has the license to kill :P

And not only kill its also acquires intel and presents it to its boss, the Lymphocye. After killing, it digests the microbe and exhibits the antigens on its surface and presents them to the Lymphocytes in the Lymph Node. Hence also known as the Antigen Presenting Cells.

-Ved :)


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