Phagocytosis is one of the first lines of defense against invading microorganisms. It is also important for the processes of tissue remodeling and removal of senescent cells. As important as phagocytosis is, to date no single model can adequately describe this extremely complex process. This is due in part to the wide variety of receptors that can stimulate phagocytosis and the ability of the microorganisms themselves to influence the process. Synthetic polymeric particles are used extensively to study phagocytosis, and they may be coated with opsonins to enhance uptake.
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