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Histiocyte

Definition

A histiocyte is a type of immune cell that destroys 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:

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

An abnormal number of histiocytes leads to a disease called Langerhan's cell histiocyosis (previously called histiocytosis X).

References

Goronzy JJ, Weyand CM. The innate and adaptive immune systems. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 44.


Review Date: 5/16/2014
Reviewed By: Stuart I. Henochowicz, MD, FACP, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Rheumatology, Georgetown University Medical School, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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