Macrophages refer to a type of white blood cell that eats and then digests debris within the body. The term debris refers to cellular waste, microbes, foreign substances and even cancer cells. The process in which macrophages do this internal cleansing is phagocytosis, which means the process to devour, or eat, the cell. The term macrophage has a Greek origin, which translates to “big eaters”. This is the main job of the macrophage, and it is an important one. As they travel through all tissues they search for pathogens, which could be dangerous to the body, and destroy them. They also play an important role in the immune system of the body as some types of macrophages stimulate the immune system through inflammation and others play an anti-inflammatory role in the body by decreasing immune responses that could be harmful.
Neutrophils are the most common and plentiful type of white blood cell found within the body. They are a very important part of the immune system in all mammals. They exist by formation from stem cells, which occurs within the bone marrow. The serve as “paramedics” within the bloodstream as they are the first to respond to infections, cancer cells or other inflammatory cause at the site of the inflammation. These cells form pus and their job is to attack and ingest the bad cells responsible for inflammation and infection, release agents to cleanse the body of these cells and then regenerate more neutrophils. Without enough neutrophils, the body is extremely susceptible to disease and infection. Therapy such as chemotherapy or diseases such as leukemia are characterized by a low count of neutrophils, which cause the body to lack immunity.