Phagocytosis: Techniques


Phagocytosis is a complex cellular process in which particulate material, such as invading microorganisms and dead cells, is engulfed and eliminated by phagocytes.

Keywords: phagocytosis; antigen uptake; respiratory burst; bacterial killing

Figure 1.

Scanning electron micrograph of (a) a control rat macrophage and (b) one that is engulfing mast cell granules when incubated for 30 min. Transmission electron micrographs (not shown) have demonstrated the presence of numerous mast cell granules within the phagolysosomes of these macrophages confirming ingestion of these cellular particles. (Magnification ×30 000.)



Babior BM, Kipes RS and Curnette JT (1973) Biological defense mechanisms. The production by leukocytes of superoxide, a potential bactericidal agent. Journal of Clinical Investigation 52: 741–744.

Campbell DE and Douglas SD (1997) Phagocytic cell functions. I. Oxidation and chemotaxis. In: Rose NR et al. (eds) Manual of Clinical Laboratory Immunology, pp. 320–328. Washington, DC: ASM Press.

Gallin JI (1992) Disorders of phagocytic cells. In: Gallin JI, Goldstein IM and Snyderman R (eds) Inflammation – Basic Principles and Clinical Correlates, pp. 859–872. New York: Raven Press.

O'Gorman MG (1997) Phagocytic cell functions. II. Adhesion and phagocytosis. In: Rose NR, de Macario EC, Folds JD, Lane HC, Nakamura RM (eds) Manual of Clinical Laboratory Immunology, pp. 329–333. Washington, DC: ASM Press.

Shah B, Li Y, Stechschulte DJ and Dileepan KN (1995) Phagocytosis of mast cell granules results in decreased macrophage superoxide production. Mediators of Inflammation 4: 406–412.

Yamada A, Dileepan KN, Stechschulte DJ and Suzuki T (1989) Regulation of FCγ2a receptor‐mediated phagocytosis by a murine macrophage‐like cell line, P388D1. Involvement of casein kinase activity associated with FCγ2a receptor. Journal of Molecular and Cellular Immunology 4: 191–201.

Further Reading

Coligan JE, Kruisbeek AM, Margulies DH, Shevach EM and Strober W (eds) (1992) Current Protocols in Immunology. New York: John Wiley and Sons.

Klempner MS, Styrt B and Ho J (eds) (1989) Phagocytosis and Disease. Hingham, MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Pauletti R, Notario A and Ricevutti G (eds) (1997) Phagocytes: Biology, Physiology, Pathology and Pharmacotherapeutics. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, vol. 832. New York: The New York Academy of Sciences.

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Dileepan, Kottarappat N(Apr 2001) Phagocytosis: Techniques. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0001443]