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Definition of Phagocytosis

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Phagocytosis: The process by which a cell engulfs particles such as bacteria, other microorganisms, aged red blood cells, foreign matter, etc. The principal phagocytes include the neutrophils and monocytes (types of white blood cells).

The prefix "phago-" comes from the Greek "phago" meaning "to eat."

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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