Recent Progress in the Quantitation of Phagocytosis

  • T. W. Jungi


Since the discovery of phagocytosis by Metchnikoff, this process has been recognized as being an important mechanism for the defence and self-preservation of multicellular organisms. In higher vertebrates, specialized cells (the so-called professional phagocytes), namely polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs) and mononuclear phagocytes, fulfil this task. Operationally, phagocytosis can be divided into several phases: (i) recognition and binding of the prey to be ingested, (ii) actual ingestion, and (iii) elimination of the engulfed particle. In order to recognize the material to be internalized, a variety of specific binding sites are expressed on the phagocyte surface which specifically bind to surface determinants of the target, e.g. β-glucan on microorganisms (Czop and Austen, 1985). Some of these determinants are host-derived humoral factors (‘opsonins’) fixed to the target surface, e.g. antibodies or split products of the complement component C3 (Newman et al, 1980; Wright and Silverstein, 1982). Thus, for optimal performance of phagocytosis, not only cellular but also humoral requirements must be satisfied. Depending on the cellular state, the type of receptors triggered and the intensity of triggering, this binding event is transduced to the motile apparatus in a manner which promotes ingestion and enclosure of the particle within a phagocytic vacuole; alternatively, binding to receptors may not be followed by ingestion (Newman et al., 1980; Wright and Silverstein, 1982; Pommier et al., 1983).


Candida Albicans Acridine Orange Polymorphonuclear Leukocyte Respiratory Burst Chronic Granulomatous Disease 
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© S. B. Pal and the Contributors 1988

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  • T. W. Jungi

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