These granules store a mixture of cytotoxic molecules, including many enzymes and antimicrobial peptides, that are released by a process called degranulation following activation of the granulocyte by an immune stimulus.
Specific granules are also known as "secondary granules."
Examples of cytotoxic molecule stored by specific granules in different granulocytes include:
- Neutrophil: alkaline phosphatase, lactoferrin, lysozyme, NADPH oxidase
- Eosinophil: cathepsin, major basic protein
- Basophil: heparin, histamine (not directly cytotoxic)
- "Definition: specific granule from Online Medical Dictionary".
- Okuda M, Takenaka T, Kawabori S, Ogami Y (July 1981). "Ultrastructural study of the specific granule of the human eosinophil". J. Submicrosc. Cytol. 13 (3): 465–71. PMID 7334549.
- John P. Greer; Maxwell Myer Wintrobe (1 December 2008). Wintrobe's clinical hematology. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. pp. 173–. ISBN 978-0-7817-6507-7. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
- Online 'Mendelian Inheritance in Man' (OMIM) SPECIFIC GRANULE DEFICIENCY; SGD -245480
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