The present study has shown that changes in ionic channel currents accompany the phagocytosis of particles by mononuclear phagocytes. The patch-clamp technique in the cell-attached configuration was applied to human monocyte-derived macrophages to measure the activity of single transmembrane ionic channels in intact cells. During such measurements, IgG-opsonized and non-opsonized latex particles were offered for phagocytosis under continuous video-microscopical observation. Single particles were presented to the phagocytes at a membrane location some distance from that of the patch electrode. After a lag period following particle attachment, enhanced inward and outward time-variant single channel currents coinciding with particle engulfment were observed. On the basis of current-voltage characteristics and membrane potential measurements, the outward-directed channels were identified as K+ channels. Phagocytosis was also accompanied by slow transient changes in background membrane currents, probably due to changes in the membrane potential of the phagocytosing cell. Phagocytosis of IgG-coated latex particles differed from phagocytosis of uncoated or albumin-coated particles by a shorter lag time between particle attachment and the onset of enhanced ionic channel activity.

This content is only available as a PDF.