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Types of White Blood Cells

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Types of White Blood Cells - Explained Briefly

IVSAT 2024

Blood is a fluid connective tissue which supplies oxygen and the mineral resources and carries out the waste products and carbon dioxide throughout the body. It is made up of different types of blood cells, which are produced in the bone marrow. It is about 80% water and 20% solids.


Types of Blood Cells:

The blood is made up of four different types of cells:

  1.  Red blood cells (RBC)

  2.  White blood cells (WBC)

  3.  Plasma

  4.  Platelets

The composition of blood is as follows:, ~55% of plasma and ~45% of blood cells. Now we will discuss briefly about WBC.


Red Blood Cells

Red blood cells are biconcave cells, and these do not have a nucleus in humans. These cells are also called erythrocytes. RBCs have a rich iron protein called haemoglobin that gives the blood its red colour. The primary and core function of these cells is to transport oxygen from various tissues and organs of the human body.


What are White Blood Cells?

WBC is a type of blood cell which helps us to fight against diseases. These WBC are produced by stem cells in the bone marrow and it is found in the blood and lymph tissue. WBC are also called leukocytes.


The lifespan of WBC is about 13 to 20 days. After this, they are destroyed inside the lymphatic system. The normal white blood cell count in blood is 4,500 to 11,000 per microlitre.


Plasma

Plasma is the extracellular and liquid portion of blood and is transparent or pale yellow coloured. Plasma in blood contains 80–90% water, and the remaining 10% is salts, enzymes, nutrients, lipids, and hormones.


Platelets

These are tiny fragments of blood cells that facilitate the formation of clots in our bodies to stop bleeding. Platelets help repair the damage and rush towards blood vessels whenever there is any damage in them. 


White Blood Cells Function

WBC are a part of the immune system, if there is a decrease in the immune power, then the body releases the WBC. The main function of these cells is to protect the body from getting affected by foreign particles. Whenever an infection or foreign particle invades the body, the WBC builds up the antibodies and attacks the germs to destroy it.

  • White blood cells are also known as leucocytes or leukocytes. 

  • It helps to stimulate the production of progesterone hormone in our body. 

  • It is essential for our reproductive systems as it helps create a network of blood vessels in the ovary.

  • If your body is struggling and a specific area is under attack, the white blood cells surge into the area to destroy the harmful substance and avoid illnesses.


Types of White Blood Cells and Their Function:

There are three different types of white blood cells:

1. Granulocytes: 

Granulocytes are a type of WBC, which has small granules made up of proteins. These are further divided into three types, and they are:


a. Basophils: Basophils helps to provide immune responses to parasitic infections. In addition to that, it has the following functions:


Prevents blood clotting: Basophil contains a substance called heparin, which is a blood-thinning substance, this avoids clotting of blood inside the body.


Mediates allergic reactions: When an immune system is exposed to an allergen, the basophil releases a substance called histamine which helps to kill the allergens, it is well known for its role to fight against asthma.


b. Eosinophils: Eosinophils are the special cells inside the immune system which are involved in inflammatory and anti-parasitic responses.


c. Neutrophils: Neutrophils help to heal damaged tissues, it also helps to fight against bacterial or viral infections.


Difference Between Basophils, Eosinophils, and Neutrophils:

Characteristics

Basophils

Eosinophils

Neutrophils

Role

Helps to diagnose autoimmune disease or blood-related disorders

Helps to fight against allergies and diseases

Provide an immune response against any foreign particle attack

Nucleus

Multi-lobed nucleus

Bean-shaped nucleus

Two or bilobed nucleus

Life span

Life span is about 60–70 hours

Life span is about 8–12 hours

Life span is about 5– to 90 hours

Size

Diameter is of 10–14 micrometres

Diameter is about 12–17 micrometres

Diametre is about 8.86 micrometres

Disorders

Hypothyroidism

Leukopenia (low level) and Eosinophilia (high level) 

Leukocytosis (high level) and Neutropenia (low level)


2. Lymphocytes: 

The lymphocytes are further divided into three types:

  1. B cells: The B cells are also referred to as B lymphocytes, which produce antibodies in the immune system.

  2. T Cells: The T cells are also referred to as T lymphocytes, which helps to recognize and remove the infection-causing pathogens.

  3. Natural Killer Cells: These cells are responsible for attacking and killing the pathogens, it also kills cancerous cells.


Difference Between B Cells and T Cells:

Characteristics

B Cells

T Cells

Site of maturation

It originates and matures in the bone marrow.

It originates in the bone marrow and matures in the thymus.

Also called

B lymphocytes.

T lymphocytes.

Position

Present outside the lymph nodes.

Present inside the lymph nodes.

Life span

Shorter life span.

Larger life span compared to B cells.


3. Monocytes:

Monocytes make up around 2–8% of the WBC, which helps to fight against chronic infections.


WBC Normal Range:

The WBC normal range is based on age.


Age

Normal Range (Per Cubic Millimetre)

Newborn

13,000–38,000

2-week-old baby

5,000–28,000

Adult

4,500–11,000


What Happens When a Person has a High White Blood Cell Count?

If the WBC count increases in the body, then it may lead to the disease leukocytosis. Below are the medical conditions indicated dues to high white blood cell count:

  1. Asthma attack

  2. Heart attack

  3. Rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases

  4. Leukaemia


What Happens When a Person has a Low White Blood Cell Count?

If the human body is producing lower numbers of  WBC, it leads to a disease called leukopenia.


Conditions for leukopenia are as follows:

  1. Bone marrow disorders

  2. Vitamin B-12 deficiency

  3. Autoimmune conditions, HIV

Hence, we can conclude that blood cells play an important role in our life. It protects our body by keeping a track of foreign bodies. They also supply oxygen to cells and tissues and provide essential nutrients. Blood cells help to keep our body clean by removing the waste products through the kidney.

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FAQs on Types of White Blood Cells

1. What are the foods that increase the count of white blood cells?

Consuming foods which are rich in vitamin C will increase the WBC count. The foods which are rich in vitamin C are citrus fruits which include, grapefruit, oranges, lemon, and bell peppers.

2. What are the symptoms of low white blood cell count?

Below are the symptoms of low white blood cell count in a human body -

  1. Having repeated fevers and infections.

  2. Bladder infections may make you urinate more often or make it painful to pass urine.

  3. Lung infections that cause coughing and you may feel difficulty in breathing.

  4. Mouth sores.

  5. Sinus infections and a stuffy nose.

  6. Skin infections.

3. What are some common signs or indicators of white blood cell disorders?

WBC disorder can cause serious harm to your body. It needs quick and instant treatment by a doctor. Whether you are facing a high or low WBC, you need to consult your doctor. The signs or common symptoms of white blood cell disorders, in which you might have high WBC or low WBC, are mentioned below:

  • Frequent body aches, fever, and chills.

  • Getting very frequently common infections.

  • Wounds that are bleeding, red, swelling, pus or doesn't heal.

  • Consistent coughing and difficulty in breathing.

  • Muscle weakness and fatigue.

4. What are the white blood cell disorders treatments?

Treatment for WBC disorders depends upon the diagnosis and seriousness of the condition. Some of the most common treatments for WBC disorder are as follows:

  • Intake of essential and deficit vitamins as per the doctor's advice.

  • Intake antibiotics and proteins for infection prevention.

  • Surgery to replace or repair the damaged bone marrow.

  • Blood transfusion for its better flow.

5. What are the differences between the roles of basophils and eosinophils?

  • Basophils are used for diagnosing autoimmune diseases and help to facilitate blood-related disorders. On the other hand, eosinophils help cure allergies and common diseases. 

  • These cells facilitate inflammation responses by releasing histamine, serotonin, and heparin. Basophils are produced and grow in the bone marrow. It is better to have fewer eosinophils cells in our body as these are primarily tissue-dwelling. 

  • The cytoplasm of basophil stains is blue, whereas the cytoplasm of eosinophil stains is red.


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