Skip to Content
Medical Term:


Pronunciation: fag'o-sit

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]

© Copyright 2016 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review Date: Sep 19, 2016.