Pac-Man (Alveolar Macrophage) Eats Green Beads (60 nm FITC Doped Silica Nanoparticles)

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These images of rat alveolar macrophages exposed to FITC doped silica nanoparticles were captured in a series through the z-plane using a laser scanning confocal microscope (Olympus). The fluorescent silica particles are packaged into phagosomes, which are distributed throughout the cell, showing that the macrophage is reaching capacity. At a certain concentration, the capacity of the macrophages to ingest particles will be overwhelmed, and their ability to remove foreign matter from the airways will be compromised. This information is useful for establishing exposure limits for particulate matter. The scale bars represent 5 microns.