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Mononuclear phagocyte system

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Title: Mononuclear phagocyte system  
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Subject: Leishmania donovani, Spleen, Red blood cell, Macrophage, Pathophysiology of HIV/AIDS
Collection: Immune System
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Mononuclear phagocyte system

The mononuclear phagocyte system (MPS) (also called Reticuloendothelial System or Macrophage System) is a part of the immune system that consists of the phagocytic cells[1] located in reticular connective tissue. The cells are primarily monocytes and macrophages, and they accumulate in lymph nodes and the spleen. The Kupffer cells of the liver and tissue histiocytes are also part of the MPS. Mononuclear phagocyte system and monocyte macrophage system are two different terms, often mistakenly understood as one.

"Reticuloendothelial system" is an older term for the mononuclear phagocyte system, but it is used less commonly now, as it is understood that most endothelial cells are not macrophages.[2]


  • Cell types and locations 1
  • Functions 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4

Cell types and locations

The spleen is the largest unit of the mononuclear phagocyte system. The monocyte is formed in the bone marrow and transported by the blood; it migrates into the tissues, where it transforms into a histiocyte or a macrophage.

Macrophages are diffusely scattered in the connective tissue and in liver (Kupffer cells), spleen and lymph nodes (sinus histiocytes), lungs (alveolar macrophages), and central nervous system (microglia). The half-life of blood monocytes is about 1 day, whereas the life span of tissue macrophages is several months or years. The mononuclear phagocyte system is part of both humoral and cell-mediated immunity. The mononuclear phagocyte system has an important role in defense against microorganisms, including mycobacteria, fungi, bacteria, protozoa, and viruses. Macrophages remove senescent erythrocytes, leukocytes, and megakaryocytes by phagocytosis and digestion.

Cell Name Location
Adipose tissue macrophages Adipose tissue
Monocyte Bone Marrow/Blood
Kupffer cell Liver
Sinus histiocytes Lymph node
Alveolar macrophage(dust cell) Pulmonary alveolus of Lungs
Tissue macrophages (Histiocyte) leading to Giant cells Connective Tissues
Langerhans cell Skin and Mucosa
Microglia Central Nervous System
Hofbauer cell Placenta
Intraglomerular mesangial cell Kidney
Osteoclasts Bone
Epithelioid cells Granulomas
Red Pulp Macrophage (Sinusoidal lining cells) Red pulp of Spleen
Peritoneal macrophages Peritoneal cavity


  • Formation of new red blood cells (RBCs) and white blood cells (WBCs).
  • Destruction of old RBCs and WBCs
  • Formation of plasma proteins.
  • Formation of bile pigments.
  • Storage of iron. In the liver, Kupffer cells store excess iron from catabolism of heme from the breakdown of red blood cells. In bone marrow and spleen, iron is stored in MPS cells mostly as ferritin; in iron overload states, most of the iron is stored as hemosiderin.


  1. ^ Mononuclear Phagocyte System at the US National Library of Medicine Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)
  2. ^ Inderbir Singh (2006). Textbook of human histology. Jaypee Brothers Publishers. pp. 90–.  

External links

  • 550502460 at GPnotebook
  • Immunology at MCG 1/reticulo
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