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Monday 28 June 2004

Definition: A phagolysosome is a membrane-enclosed organelle which is formed from the fusing of a lysosome and a phagosome. This process of phagolysosome formation is common in immunological functions of macrophages.


- phagolysosmes and histiocytes in tatoo

Primary lysosomes fuse with membrane-bound vacuoles that contain material to be digested, forming secondary lysosomes or phagolysosomes.

The enzymes in lysosomes are capable of degrading most proteins and carbohydrates, but some lipids remain undigested.

Lysosomes with undigested debris may persist within cells as residual bodies or may be extruded. Lipofuscin pigment granules represent undigested material derived from intracellular lipid peroxidation.

Certain indigestible pigments, such as carbon particles inhaled from the atmosphere or inoculated pigment in tattoos, can persist in phagolysosomes of macrophages for decades.

See also

- lysosomes

  • primary lysosomes

- phagocytes
- phagocytosis


- Griffiths G. On phagosome individuality and membrane signalling networks. Trends Cell Biol. 2004 Jul;14(7):343-51. PMID: 15246427

- Garin J, Diez R, Kieffer S, Dermine JF, Duclos S, Gagnon E, Sadoul R, Rondeau C, Desjardins M. The phagosome proteome: insight into phagosome functions. J Cell Biol. 2001 Jan 8;152(1):165-80. PMID: 11149929

- Desjardins M. Biogenesis of phagolysosomes: the ’kiss and run’ hypothesis. Trends Cell Biol. 1995 May;5(5):183-6. PMID: 14731444

- Desjardins M, Celis JE, van Meer G, Dieplinger H, Jahraus A, Griffiths G, Huber LA. Molecular characterization of phagosomes. J Biol Chem. 1994 Dec 23;269(51):32194-200. PMID: 7798218