Biology

Types of white blood cells

What are white blood cells?

The blood is the fluid that crosses the body of a vertebrate, oxygenating and delivering nutrients to the cells. In addition to this important function, it transports the waste of these cells out of it. The elements that compose it are divided into: blood cells, which are white blood cells , and cell derivatives , which are red blood cells and platelets.

White blood cells , also called leukocytes, originate from the bone marrow. They defend the body from external agents, and are part of the immune system. In healthy values, the human body has between 6,000 and 9,000 white blood cells per cubic millimeter of blood. It is called leukopenia when the value is lower, and leukocytosis when it is high. Both imbalances bring multiple health problems to the human being.

Red blood cells: classification

Although the functions of each type of white blood cell are under permanent investigation, we will present some of them in general terms and according to the latest updates on the subject.

Eosinophils: These  are normally 1% to 3% of all white blood cells. They are weak phagocytes . The latter refers to its ability to introduce other microorganisms into its interior, with the aim of eliminating them. They manifest chemotaxis, that is, they direct their movements based on the concentration of chemical substances. They make their entry into the blood during allergic reactions and in parasite infections. Technically they eliminate toxic substances in the tissues .

Basophils: they  form only 0.4% of circulating leukocytes. Mast cells release heparin into the blood, which can prevent blood clotting. It also speeds up the removal of fat particles after a high- fat meal. Given the disagreement about what happens to basophils, two things may happen: basophils in the blood secrete heparin like mast cells, or the blood carries basophils into tissues in order to turn them into mast cells. 

Neutrophils:  make up 62%. It has the characteristic of being a phagocyte but smaller in size. It also presents chemotaxis, and it is the first cell to act in the face of an inflammatory process. In turn, it is known as a kamikaze cell because, generally, it is destroyed during the body’s defense moments. They choose to operate in a group against the foreign agent or body.

Lymphocytes:  within this category several types of cells are covered, which are similar in coloring characteristics. Some of them appear to be multipotential cells, similar to the primordial stem cell. They are considered of great importance since they can produce almost any type of cell. Meanwhile, many of the other circulating lymphocytes have special functions in the immunity process.

Monocytes: it  is a phagocyte par excellence. Like neutrophils, it manifests chemotaxis. It has the peculiarity of transforming into a specialized cell known as a  macrophage. It is capable of eating large amounts of foreign bodies and / or cellular debris. It can grow up to 10 times its size. Unlike the neutrophil, this cell kills microorganisms more slowly, but it grows much larger .

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