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White Blood Cells – Types & Functions

White Blood Cells Functions

A white blood cell (WBC) is a type of white blood cell that is part of the immune system and helps the body fight infection from other foreign particles. White blood cells recognize intruders, kill harmful bacteria, and create antibodies to protect your body from exposure to certain bacteria and viruses in the future.

Types of WBC

White blood cells come in several different types. Moreover, they are sometimes called leukocytes.

Neutrophils

The number of neutrophils makes up roughly half of the population of white blood cells. An invader like a bacterium or a virus usually triggers the immune system’s response through these cells. These first responders also signal other immune cells to assist at the scene.

As the primary cells present in pus, neutrophils are familiar to you. The cells released by the bone marrow live only for eight hours, but your body produces around 100 billion of them every day.

Eosinophils

Besides fighting bacteria, eosinophils are also very important in fighting parasitic infections (such as worms). As allergy symptoms, they occur when they mount overreactions against things (such as pollen), which are erroneously believed to be invading.

A small percentage of these cells make up your bloodstream, but they are concentrated in your digestive tract.

Basophils

Around 1% of white blood cells are basophils, which mount a non-specific immune response to pathogens. Perhaps their most notable function is in asthma.

These cells release histamine among other chemicals when stimulated. As a consequence, the products can lead to inflammation and bronchoconstriction in the airways.

Lymphocytes (B & T)

Immune system lymphocytes play an important role, with T cells being responsible for directly killing many foreign invaders. Other white blood cells (in contrast to B lymphocytes) are responsible for non-specific immunity.

The antibodies they produce help prepare your body should you be attacked by an infection. In the majority of current vaccines, the B lymphocytes are the main factor affecting the efficacy. However, in some cases (e.g. in tuberculosis and pertussis) they are not the main factor. It is also very important to have T lymphocytes.

Monocytes

The immune system’s garbage trucks are monocytes. Most of the white blood cells in your blood are monocytes, and their main function is to migrate into tissues and remove dead cells (among other functions.)

Formation

The process of hematopoiesis begins in the bone marrow. A common stem cell, or pluripotent stem cell, gives rise to white, red, and platelet cells of all blood types. Stem cells evolve (differentiate) at different stages. 

In the process of dividing, the HSC cell first goes into the lymphoid cell line and then into the myeloid cell line via the myeloid stem or progenitor cell. In lymphoid stem or progenitor cells, B lymphocytes or “B cells” and T lymphocytes (T cells) develop.

Isolating myeloid stem cells from blood establishes an entirely new line of differentiation into macrophages, monocytes, neutrophils, basophils, and eosinophils, which in turn produce red and platelets cells.

Elevated WBC Counts

A high white blood cell count can be caused by various conditions other than infection. The body can release these white blood cells early if it overproduces white blood cells, or if it overproduces them.

This can be caused by any form of stress. An increased white blood cell count can be caused by:

  • Infections
  • Cancer where a larger number of white blood cells is manufactured, such as leukemias, lymphomas, and myelomas
  • IBD and autoimmune disorders are examples of inflammation
  • Fractures and emotional trauma
  • Pregnancy
  • Exercise
  • Asthma & allergies

Low WBC Counts

A low white blood cell count may be caused by:

  • Infections
  • Blood or metastatic cancer, or poisoning-related bone marrow disorders such as aplastic anemia or bone marrow “takeover.”
  • Lupus and other autoimmune diseases
  • A condition in which white blood cells accumulate in the spleen.

Symptoms

White blood cells serve several functions, so understanding their function is critical in understanding the symptoms of low white blood counts. A healthy body’s defense against infection is its white blood cells.

Innate immune cells that attack foreigners are born with that ability, while humoral immune cells produce antibodies when they observe a germ ahead of time so that they can fight it once more if it attacks again.

You may experience the following symptoms if you have an infection-

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Pain or frequency of urination
  • Blood in the stools
  • Diarrhea
  • Redness, swelling, or warmth in a region of infection

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy often has dangerous side effects due to its effects on white blood cells, including neutrophils. As a rule, neutrophils are the first responders to our immune system.

By reducing neutrophils, chemotherapy-induced neutropenia increases infection risk. Furthermore, bacterial infections that would normally not cause serious problems are a lot more likely to result from neutropenia than from someone without the disorder. 

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Written by Saleh wasim

Blogger who writes topics such as Employment, News, travel, sports, events and life in Gulf.

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