Some Effects of Divalent Cations on In Vitro Phagocytosis

  • G. V. Metzger
  • L. J. Casarett
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1)


An in vitro investigation of phagocytosis by rat peritoneal macrophages is reported. Some effects of divalent cations on binding and engulfment of several metal oxides and carbon particles are described.

Calcium and magnesium concentrations were varied by the treatment of protein-free Tyrodes medium with EDTA or ion-exchange resin in preliminary studies, and by the addition to 0.145 M NaCl. Removal of Ca++resuited in a consistent decrease of the phagocytic index (expressed as percentage of cells containing particles). Conversely, addition of Ca++, within limits, enhanced the phagocytic index with a peak effect at 10−4M for metal oxide particles studied. In all cases, Mg++ did not significantly change the phagocytic index from control levels (with 0.145 M NaCl and no divalent ions). Unlike the metal oxides, Ca++ did not significantly change the phagocytic index from control levels for the carbon particles.

Additional experiments on the variation of the phagocytic index as a function of time, incubating medium, particle-concentration, and type, are described. These experiments were carried out to determine whether Ca++ increased the “rate” of phagocytosis, or the total number of cells phagocytizing. The binding of cells to various surfaces was also investigated as a function of divalent ion concentrations.

The possible mechanisms of the actions of Ca++ in the phagocytic process are discussed in the light of the data presented.


Anionic Group Divalent Cation Peritoneal Macrophage Carbon Particle Fe203 Particle 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1967

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. V. Metzger
    • 1
  • L. J. Casarett
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Radiation Biology and BiophysicsUniversity of Rochester Medical CenterRochesterUSA

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