Leukocytes are white blood cells that have a protective function. They have a nucleus and are larger than red cells - non-nuclear erythrocytes. Their lifespan is several days.
Normally, the number of leukocytes in human blood ranges from 4-9 x 10 ^ 9 / l. An increase in the level of leukocytes is called leukocytosis, and a decrease is called leukopenia. Leukocytosis can be physiological and reactive, indicating pathology.
From which the number of leukocytes in the blood rises and falls
A physiological increase in the level of leukocytes in the blood is observed 2-3 hours after eating (digestive leukocytosis), psychoemotional stress, taking hot or cold baths, with intense muscle stress and pain, in women - before menstruation and in the second half of pregnancy. Reactive leukocytosis is characteristic of infectious diseases and inflammatory processes. Leukopenia can occur with some infections, taking medications, exposure to ionizing radiation and other factors.
What are leukocytes
All leukocytes are highly mobile. According to the granularity of the cellular cytoplasm, they are divided into granulocytes (granular) and agranulocytes (non-granular). If the granules are stained pink with acidic dyes (eosin and others), such cells are called eosinophils, if they are stained blue with basic dyes (methylene blue) - basophils. Finally, neutrophils are characterized by a pink-violet coloration of the granules when stained with neutral dyes.
Agranulocytes, consisting of an oval nucleus and non-granular cytoplasm, include monocytes and lymphocytes. Monocytes are formed in the bone marrow, penetrate into the foci of inflammation and phagocytose bacteria. Lymphocytes are produced in the thymus gland, bone marrow and spleen stem cells. They are needed for the production of antibodies and the implementation of immune responses.
The percentage of all types of leukocytes is reflected in the leukocyte formula. The number of certain types of white blood cells increases with certain diseases. So, the level of lymphocytes increases with whooping cough and typhoid fever, monocytes - with malaria, neutrophils - with pneumonia and other infectious diseases. Eosinophils have an antihistamine effect, so their number increases with allergic reactions, hay fever, bronchial asthma. The characteristic shifts in the leukocyte formula help to establish an accurate diagnosis.