Macrophage

Alternative names 
Histiocyte

Definition

Histiocytes are cells of the immune system that ingest foreign antigens to protect against infection. They are fixed, meaning they remain in one part of the body rather than traveling through the bloodstream.

Histiocytes are found in many organs and connective tissues:

     
  • Spleen  
  • Lymph nodes  
  • Brain  
  • Liver (Kupffer cells)  
  • Breast tissue  
  • Alveoli  
  • Tonsils  
  • Serous cavities  
  • Placenta

Histiocytosis involves an abnormal number of histiocytes and may affect the lungs (alveoli), the bones, or the lymphatic system.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 3, 2012
by Martin A. Harms, M.D.

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