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Histiocyte

Definition

A histiocyte is a type of immune cell that eats foreign substances in an effort to protect the body from infection.

Alternative Names

Macrophage

Information

Histiocytes do not travel through the blood. Instead, they remain in one part of the body.

Histiocytes are found in many organs and tissues, including the following:

  • Brain
  • Breast tissue
  • Liver
  • Lymph nodes
  • Placenta
  • Spleen
  • Tonsils

An abnormal number of histiocytes leads to a disease called histiocytosis X.

References

Goronzy JJ, Weyand Cm. The innate and adaptive immune systems. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2007:chap 42.

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    Review Date: 5/16/2010

    Review By: David Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Stuart I. Henochowicz, MD, FACP, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Rheumatology, Georgetown University Medical School. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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