Histiocyte

Definition

A histiocyte is a type of immune cell. It destroys foreign substances 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
  • Lung
  • Lymph nodes
  • Placenta
  • Spleen
  • Tonsils

An abnormal number of histiocytes leads to a disease called Langerhans cell histiocytosis (previously called histiocytosis X).

References

Crow MK. The innate immune system. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 45.

Hall JE. Resistance of the body to infection. In: Hall JE, ed. Guyton and Hall Textbook of Medical Physiology. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 34.

Review Date: 
5/17/2016
Reviewed By: 
Laura J. Martin, MD, MPH, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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