Macrophages (Greek meaning 'big eater') are the largest type of white blood cell and, as such, play a key role in immune response.
Macrophages start life as monocytes produced by stem cells in bone marrow. If activated by cytokines, inflammatory messenger models produced by T cells, monocytes differentiate into macrophages. Some of these are then used to carry out phagocytosis on invading pathogens, a form of non-specific immunity while others are used to remove dead/necrotic cells from the host. The macrophages then pull apart the proteins of pathogens to present them on their surface membrane, alerting the immune system to the infection and allowing T cells to carry out their function. Macrophages also produce toxic chemicals to kill surrounding cells and thus preventing pathogenic reproduction.
- ↑ 1. Dr Ananya Mandal M. Macrophage Function [Internet]. News-Medical.net. 2017 [cited 5 December 2017]. Available from: https://www.news-medical.net/life-sciences/Macrophage-Function.aspx
- ↑ 2. Macrophage | ASU - Ask A Biologist [Internet]. Askabiologist.asu.edu. 2017 [cited 5 December 2017]. Available from: https://askabiologist.asu.edu/macrophage
- ↑ 3. T cells and macrophages [Internet]. Bristol.ac.uk. 2017 [cited 5 December 2017]. Available from: https://www.bristol.ac.uk/cellmolmed/air/ourresearch/project.tcell_mp.html