Ultrastructural study of leukemic cell phagocytosis using the myeloperoxidase reaction

E. Pozzoli, G. Lambertenghi-Deliliers, D. Soligo, M. T. Nava, P. Zanon, A. T. Maiolo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The phagocytosis (in the absence of serum factors) of zymosan particles by peripheral leukocytes isolated from ten patients with acute leukemia (AMbL, AMol, AMML, AUL, ALL and CML-BC) was studied at the electron microscope. An evident phagocytic activity was observed only in the cells in which cytochemical and ultrastructural features suggested that the blast elements belonged to the monocytic series. However, no phagocytosis by unclassifiable leukemic blasts was observed, even though they had some submicroscopic characteristics of the monocytic series. These findings suggest that phagocytic capacity developed during the course of cell differentiation, becoming striking only when the blast cell acquires the ultrastructural features of the pro-monocytic stage. Using the myeloperoxidase reaction, this study also demonstrates a morphological alteration in the degranulation process after the ingestion of zymosan particles in both the blasts and the mature PMN cells of leukemic patients. This defect could be related to the susceptibility to severe infections usually found in subjects with hematological malignancies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)517-526
Number of pages10
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1979

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research


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