The spleen is the largest unit of the mononuclear phagocyte system. The monocyte is formed in the bone marrow and transported by the blood; it migrates into the tissues, where it transforms into a histiocyte or a macrophage.
Macrophages are diffusely scattered in the connective tissue and in liver (Kupffer cells), spleen and lymph nodes (sinus histiocytes), lungs (alveolar macrophages), and central nervous system (microglia). The half-life of blood monocytes is about 1 day, whereas the life span of tissue macrophages is several months or years. The mononuclear phagocyte system is part of both humoral and cell-mediated immunity. The mononuclear phagocyte system has an important role in defense against microorganisms, including mycobacteria, fungi, bacteria, protozoa, and viruses. Macrophages remove senescent erythrocytes, leukocytes, and megakaryocytes by phagocytosis and digestion.
Formation of new red blood cells (RBCs) and white blood cells (WBCs).
Destruction of old RBCs and WBCs
Formation of plasma proteins.
Formation of bile pigments.
Storage of iron. In the liver, Kupffer cells store excess iron from catabolism of heme from the breakdown of red blood cells. In bone marrow and spleen, iron is stored in MPS cells mostly as ferritin; in iron overload states, most of the iron is stored as hemosiderin.