What Are Macrophages

Macrophages are derived from monocytes, which are a type of white blood cell. Remember that many white blood cells function by recognizing substances that are either foreign or no longer of use to the body and then facilitate its destruction. They are the protectors of the body, sort of "biological bodyguards" if you will.

Circulating monocytes normally leave the blood by squeezing through the wall of blood vessels and patrol the spaces in-between the cells. While patrolling, if monocytes come in contact with something that does not belong, they swell and engulf the material. These swollen, aggressive monocytes are referred to as macrophages which literally means "big eater"!

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