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Difference Between Granulocytes and Agranulocytes

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What is the difference between Granulocytes and Agranulocytes?

IVSAT 2024

The first line of defense for our human body against diseases, foreign material, or bacteria is the white blood cells. The white blood cells, also known as leukocytes, are the cells of the immune system which protect our bodies. The presence of white blood cells can be found throughout the blood and the lymphatic system. The white blood cells count in the body gives an indication of the presence of diseases in the body. 


The leukocytes can largely be divided into various categories. Based on the structure, they are divided into granulocytes and agranulocytes. Based on the cell lineage, they can be classified into two categories, - lymphoid cells and myeloid cells. The further categorization of the white blood cells can be done on functional and structural characteristics. Based on this the various types of white blood cells that are present in the body are eosinophils, neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, and basophils. 


The granulocytes are present within the cytoplasm in the form of granules while agranulocytes exist without the granules. The granulocytes have 4 lobes and agranulocytes are single lobes. We will have a brief discussion of some of these differences between granulocytes and agranulocytes. 


Granulocytes and Agranulocytes

The white blood cells are the soldiers of the body which work against any foreign invaders or disease carriers. Depending on the differences in structure, these white blood cells are categorized into granulocytes and agranulocytes. All of the white blood cells have a nucleus present within them unlike the platelets and the red blood cells. We will have a brief look at granulocytes and agranulocytes before documenting the differences between them.


Granulocytes have a specific amount of granules that are present in the cytoplasm. The nucleus which is present in the granulocytes is lobed in three segments. The most abundant granulocytes are the neutrophils. The other granulocytes are basophils, mast cells, and eosinophils. These granulocytes are present in the innate immune system. 


Agranulocytes are white blood cells with no granules in their cytoplasm. They have one lobe present within the nucleus. The monocytes and lymphocytes are the agranulocytes that are present within the human body. 


Difference between Granulocytes and Agranulocytes

The granules are present in the cytoplasm of granulocytes and these granules are absent in agranulocytes. Granulocytes from 65% of the white blood cells and agranulocytes make up the rest 35% of the white blood cells. The granulocytes originate from the bone marrow while agranulocytes originate from the lymph nodes. The granulocytes are also known as polymorphonuclear leukocytes while agranulocytes are known as mononuclear leukocytes. The granulocytes have various lobes in the nucleus and agranulocytes only have one lobe in the nucleus.

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FAQs on Difference Between Granulocytes and Agranulocytes

1. What are the numerous kinds of white blood cells?

The white blood cells form the immune system and the defence mechanism of our body against foreign pathogens and infectious diseases. These white blood cells are an essential part of the body and their role in protecting the body is hugely significant. The numerous types of white blood cells that exist within our body include Neutrophils, Eosinophils, Basophils, Lymphocytes, and Monocytes. Each of these white blood cells has its own role in protecting our body against diseases.

2. What are the roles of neutrophils and eosinophils white blood cells in the body?

The neutrophils are the very first responders in our body against any microbial infection. The neutrophils are present in two forms: neutrophil cagers and neutrophil killers. These are the most abundant types of white blood cells in the body. The eosinophils, on the other hand, are responsible for protecting us against parasitic infections, diseases of the nervous system and spleens, and allergies. Eosinophils discharge the chemicals over parasites for destroying them.

3. What are the different classifications of leukocytes?

The leukocytes, also known as white blood cells, protect the body against infectious and harmful diseases. These diseases are usually caused by bacteria, infections, and parasites. The leukocytes are classified based on their lineage, structure, and types of white blood cells. Based on their structure, the leukocytes are classified into granulocytes and agranulocytes. Based on lineage, they are classified into lymphoid cells and myeloid cells. Based on the type of white blood cells, they are classified into eosinophils, neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, and basophils.

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6. What are the Different Types of White Blood Cells?

White blood cells form our body's immune system which protects us from infectious disease and foreign pathogens. Several types of white blood cells are present in our body and protect us as given in the following.

  • Neutrophils - These are the first responders against any microbial infection. They exist in two forms- neutrophil killers and neutrophil cagers. These are the most abundant white blood cells.

  • Eosinophils - They protect us from parasitic infections, allergies and disease of the spleen and nervous system. Eosinophils secrete chemicals over the parasites to destroy them.

  • Basophils - Basophils primarily work as an allergic or antigen response system. It aids the other white blood cells by releasing chemicals, histamine, which dilates the blood vessels and heparin that increases them more permeable.

  • Lymphocytes - These are commonly present in the lymphatic system. B-cells, T-cells and natural killers protect us against pathogens.

  • Monocytes - Monocytes present the pathogens to T-cells for recognition.


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