Mouse promonocytes have been identified and studied in cultures of bone marrow cells. These cells have a diameter of 14–20 µ, and in stained preparations reveal a large, indented or folded nucleus, and basophilic, finely granular cytoplasm. The living promonocyte viewed by phase contrast shows additional features: nucleoli, small dense bodies, and vesicles in the cytoplasm adjacent to the nuclear hilus, and slight membrane ruffling. Prominent ultrastructural components of promonocytes include a well developed Golgi apparatus, small numbers of centrosomal granules and vacuoles, extensive ribosomal aggregates, and finger-like projections of the cell surface.
Promonocytes engage in pinocytosis and phagocytosis, but they are less active in these functions than are peripheral blood monocytes of peritoneal macrophages.
Promonocytes are positive for peroxidase, the reaction product being localized to granules most of which are centrally situated in the cell. Monocytes in blood or in inflammatory peritoneal exudates display much smaller numbers of peroxidase-positive granules, and various types of mature mouse macrophages are peroxidase negative.