Monsters of med school: monocyte

Monocytes are an integral part of the innate immune system. In tissues, they can differentiate into macrophages, the gluttons of the immune system. While macrophages perform a variety of functions, one of their most important roles is to eat up, or phagocytose, material around them. They eat dead cells, debris, and, importantly, infectious organisms, a process that is critical for host defense. Macrophages are also the primary infectious target of M. tuberculosis.

Monocytes are an integral part of the innate immune system. In tissues, they can differentiate into macrophages, the gluttons of the immune system. While macrophages perform a variety of functions, one of their most important roles is to eat up, or phagocytose, material around them. They eat dead cells, debris, and, importantly, infectious organisms, a process that is critical for host defense. Macrophages are also the primary infectious target of M. tuberculosis.