- A cell possessing the property of ingesting bacteria, foreign particles, and other cells. Phagocytes are divided into two general 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. SYN: carrier cell, scavenger cell. [phago- + G. kytos, cell]
* * *phago·cyte 'fag-ə-.sīt n a cell (as a white blood cell) that engulfs and consumes foreign material (as microorganisms) and debrisphagocyte vt, -cyt·ed; -cyt·ing PHAGOCYTOSE
* * *n.a cell that is able to engulf and digest bacteria, protozoa, cells and cell debris, and other small particles. Phagocytes include many white blood cells (see leucocyte) and macrophage, which play a major role in the body's defence mechanism.• phagocytic adj.
* * *phago·cyte (faґgo-sīt) [phago- + -cyte] any cell capable of ingesting particulate matter, such as a microphage, macrophage, or monocyte. Such cells ingest microorganisms and other particulate antigens that are opsonized (coated with antibody or complement), a process mediated by specific cell-surface receptors (Fc receptors and complement receptors). Other cell types exhibit phagocytosis, but not specific phagocytosis of opsonized particles.
Medical dictionary. 2011.