Definition: A cell that can ingest bacteria, foreign particles, and other cells. Phagocytes ingest and kill microbes, present antigen to lymphocytes, scavenge degenerating material, and release mediators. classes: 1) microphages, polymorphonuclear leukocytes that ingest chiefly bacteria; 2) macrophages, mononucleated cells (histiocytes and monocytes) that are largely scavengers, ingesting dead tissue and degenerated cells.
Synonym(s): carrier cell, scavenger cell
[phago- + G. kytos, cell]
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