Alveolar Macrophages

Alveolar Macrophages: Mobile cells that normally reside within alveoli and perform a number of critical functions in health and disease. Alveolar macrophages serve a critical function in surfactant homeostasis by removing excess surfactant lipids and surfactant proteins from the alveoli. They also protect the lung by internalizing and destroying inhaled microbial organisms (e.g., bacteria), and by removing inhaled particulates. Alveolar macrophages also participate in inflammation, repair of damaged lung tissues, eliminating cancer cells and a number of other functions.


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Macrophages, Alveolar: Round, granular, mononuclear phagocytes found in the alveoli of the lungs. They ingest small inhaled particles resulting in degradation and presentation of the antigen to immunocompetent cells.2

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  1. Source: RDCRN (NCATS/NIH): cms/ rld/ Learn-More/ Glossary
  2. Source: MeSH (U.S. National Library of Medicine)
  3. Source: RDCRN (NCATS/NIH): cms/ cegir/ Learn-More/ Glossary

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