AAT Bioquest

What is the difference between phagocytosis and pinocytosis?

Posted June 22, 2023


Basis of differentiation




Phagocytosis is the ingestion of solid particles into the cell by phagocytes

Pinocytosis is the ingestion of liquid droplets into the cell by small vesicles

Particle size

Typically involves the uptake of particles larger than 0.5 micrometers in diameter

Typically involves the uptake of particles less than 0.2 micrometers in diameter

Type of vesicle formed

Phagosomes are formed

Pinosomes are formed

Occurrence in body

Mostly found in the immune cells of the body 

Typically occurs in almost all cells of the body

Exocytosis occurrence

Exocytosis occurs at the end of the process

Exocytosis does not occur 

Process type

Is a triggered process involving receptors such as IgG

Is a continuous process 


Pseudopodia are used to sense targets which can be engulfed 

Small particles suspended in extracellular fluid are brought into the cell through the invagination of the lipid cell membrane


Generally used for the defensive purposes of the cell

Used in order to ingest crucial matter

Involvement of lysosomes

Lysosomes are involved

Lysosomes are not involved 

Additional resources


Cell Viability Assays

Apoptosis and Necrosis

Cell Meter™ Multiplexing Live, Apoptotic and Necrotic Cell Detection Kit III *Triple Fluorescence Colors*