Confused and have questions? We’ve got answers. With Chegg Study, you can get step-by-step solutions to your questions from an expert in the field. If you rather get 1:1 study help, try 30 minutes of free online tutoring with Chegg Tutors.

Alveolar macrophage

From Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search


noun, plural: alveolar macrophages

The macrophage in the pulmonary alveolus, and responsible for the clearance of inhaled particles and lung surfactant


In humans, the pulmonary alveolus is the hollow structure in the lung parenchyma. It is one of the many terminal ends of the respiratory tree and serves as the site for gas exchange. The alveolar macrophages are one of the three major cell types found in the pulmonary alveolus. The other two are the squamous alveolar cells and the great alveolar cells. The alveolar macrophages can be obtained by lung lavage. They are phagocytes and therefore are involved in the clearance of inhaled particles and lung surfactant. Apart from phagocytosis, they are also involved in homeostasis and tissue remodeling.1 Their metabolism is slightly different from that of peritoneal macrophages (more oxidative metabolism). They also often have multivesicular bodies that may represent residual undigested lung surfactant.

The alveolar macrophages are included in the mononuclear phagocyte system. The mononuclear phagocyte system is a system comprised of phagocytic cells located in reticular connective tissue, and are associated primarily with phagocytosis and antigen processing and presentation.2


  • dust cell
  • coniophage

See also:

Related term(s):

1 Lambrecht, B. N. "Alveolar Macrophage in the Driver's Seat." Immunity 24.4 (2006): 366-8.
2 Mononuclear phagocyte system. Retrieved from [[1]].