From the reticuloendothelial to mononuclear phagocyte system - The unaccounted years

Simon Yona*, Siamon Gordon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


It is over 125 years since Ilya Metchnikoff described the significance of phagocytosis. In this review, we examine the early origins and development of macrophage research continuing after his death in 1916, through the period of the reticuloendothelial system. Studies on these cells resulted in a substantial literature spanning immunology, hematology, biochemistry, and pathology. Early histological studies on morphology and in situ labeling laid the foundations to appreciate the diversity and functional capacity of these cells in the steady state and during pathology. We complete this phagocyte retrospective with the establishment of the mononuclear phagocyte system nomenclature half a century ago.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number328
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Issue numberJUL
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Yona and Gordon.


  • Dendritic cells
  • Inflammation
  • Macrophage
  • Metchnikoff
  • Monocyte
  • Phagocytosis


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