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What Are Microphages?

Microphages and Macrophages

Things You Must Know about Microphages

Different from but related to macrophages, microphages are cells located in the immune system that are involved in the destruction of bacteria and organisms that are unnecessary or harmful to the body. 

Similarities and Difference Between Microphages and Macrophages

Microphages and macrophages are essentially small phagocytes, a type of immune cell, that exist within the blood and lymph. Both microphages and macrophages serve the purpose of eliminating cellular debris and invading microbes through a process called phagocytosis.

Microphages and macrophages conduct phagocytosis through something called the actin-myosin contractile system. This allows the phagocytes’ cell membranes to expand in order to engulf and ingest microorganisms and cellular debris.

Although microphages and macrophages perform the same main function of ingesting harmful material, they differ in both size, numbers, and life span. Of the two, microphages are much smaller, hence the prefix “micro-”, and live only for a few days as compared to macrophages, who tend to live up to several months. Microphages are also present in much larger numbers than macrophages.

How to Ensure Good Levels of Microphages

Microphages are created from precursor cells in the bone marrow.  Once created, they enter the bloodstream and reside within the circulatory system for a period of hours before they leave circulation and naturally die.

Maintaining good levels of microphages is the key to having a healthy immune system. This means eating a healthy diet, avoiding smoking and excessive drinking, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, and taking immune supplements when needed.

Eating foods containing folic acid, iron, protein, and vitamin B6 are great ways to ensure healthy bone marrow, which results in healthy production of microphages for your immune system.

 

References:

  1. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/microphage
  2. https://www.britannica.com/science/immune-system