The phagocytic activity of blood granulocytes can be quantitatively assayed by ingestion of opsonised paraffin oil droplets containing the dye “Oil Red-O” (Stossel, T. P., Mason, R. J., Hartwig, J., and Vaughan, M. (1972) J. Clin. Invest.51:615–624). We have modified this assay by incorporating [3H]glycerol into the oil droplets which allows a more sensitive and reproducible measurement of the phagocytic competence of blood granulocytes even at very low cell counts. Comparative studies after one day storage of the blood at 4°C is feasible since they retain 84 % of the phagocytic capacity measured when isolated from fresh blood.

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