Table of Contents
Definition of Leukocyte – White Blood Cells
Leukocytes are the foundation of the body’s immune response and are phagocytic-that is, they have the ability to consume other cells.
They circulate in the blood and the lymph as well as reside in tissues throughout the body. There are three basic types of leukocytes: granulocytes, monocytes, and lymphocytes. Each type has several subtypes.
The spleen and lymph tissues produce monocytes and lymphocytes; the red bone marrow produces granulocytes.
Health Conditions that Affect Leukocyte Counts
A substantial increase overall in leukocyte count may indicate a cancer of the bone marrow such as leukemia or lymphoma. The ratio between erythrocytes (red blood cells) and leukocytes in the blood is also an important diagnostic indicator.
A healthy adult has between 5,000 and 10,000 leukocytes per microliter of blood, with granulocytes accounting for about 70 percent. Increases in certain subtypes of leukocytes suggest particular health conditions.
|HEALTH CONDITIONS THAT AFFECT LEUKOCYTE COUNTS|
|Environmental toxin exposure||Hypersensitivity Reaction|
|Many cancers||Medication side effects|
|Mononucleosis, infectious||Radiation therapy|
|Surgery||Vitamin B12 deficiency|
Types of Leukocytes
|Type of Leukocyte||Subtypes||Organ that Produces|
|granulocytes||basophils, eosinophils, neutrophils||Red Bone Marrow|
|monocytes||macrophages (reside in the tissues)||Spleen, lymph nodes|
|spleen, lymph nodes, thymus|
For further discussion of blood and lymph structure and function please see the overview section “The Blood and Lymph.”