A phagocyte (often also phagocyte , from ancient Greek φαγεῖν phagein "eat" and ancient Greek κύτος kýtos "cavity", "vessel", "shell") is a so-called "scavenger cell" that can absorb and digest animate or inanimate tissue or other parts . The expression was coined by the German zoologist Carl Claus , who had been asked for advice by the Russian immunologist Ilja Iljitsch Metschnikow , who discovered starfish phagocytes (which he initially called scavenger cells) in the winter of 1882/83. Also granulocytes belong to the "scavenger cells".
In this function - which is known as phagocytosis - phagocytes as microcytes or granulocytes are freely movable both as cellular components of the blood and in the intercellular spaces of the tissue and can move in the latter, like amoebas , following certain stimuli. Microphages are only able to phagocytose small particles such as bacteria .
As freely moving phagocytes, they are called monocytes ; when they migrate into a tissue, they become tissue macrophages and together form the reticulohistiocytic system . An important task is their ability to present antigens .
- Wilhelm Gemoll: Greek-German School and Handbook , Munich / Vienna 1965
- See Paul de Kruif : Elias Metschnikow. The good phagocytes. In: Paul de Kruif: Microbe hunters. (Original edition: Microbe Hunters. Harcourt Brace & Co., New York 1926) Orell Füssli Verlag, Zurich / Leipzig 1927 a. ö., pp. 198-223.