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Types of Leucocytes (White Blood Cells)


Monocytes: Approx. 4% of leucocytes are monoocytes. These are also known as phagocytes. They combat microbes by the process of phagocytosis.

*Basophils: 0.5-1% of leucocytes are basophils. Diameter 8-10 micrometres. Liberate heparin, histamine, and seratonin in allergic reactions, intensifying inflammatory response.

*Neutrophils: 60-70% of leucocytes are neutrophils. Diameter 10-12 micro-metres.

*Eosinophils: 2-4% of leucocytes are eosinophils. Diameter 10-12 micrometres.

Approx. 24% of leucocytes are lymphocytes. These produce anti-bodies and include: * T-Cells * B-Cells * Natural Killer Cells

Combat the effects of Phagocytosis. histamine in allergic Destruction of reactions; bacteria with Phagocytize antigenlysozyme and strong antibody complexes; oxidants. Destroy some parasitic worms.

Lymphocytes: The term "antigen" refers to something that is not naturally present and 'should not be in the body'. T Cells (lymphocytes) are activated by the thymus gland. B Cells (lymphocytes) are activated by other lymphoid tissue. The 'B' indicates 'bone marrow' cells. Both T-cells and B-cells: (1) destroy antigens, and (2) produce 'memory cells' and anti-bodies. Basophils: An increased (higher than usual) percentage of basophils in the blood may indicate an inflammatory condition somewhere in the body. Neutrophils & Monocytes: Neutrophils are the first leucocytes to respond to bacterial invasion of the body. They act by carrying out the process of phagocytosis (see opposite), and also be releasing enzymes - such as lysozyme, that destroy certain bacteria. Monocytes take longer to reach the site of infection than neutrophils - but they eventually arrive in much larger numbers.Monocytes that migrate into infected tissues develop into cells called wandering macrophages that can phagocytize many more microbes than neutrophils are able to. Monocytes also clear up cellular debris after an infection. Eosinophils: An increased (higher than usual) percentage of eosinophils in the blood may indicate parasitic infection somewhere in the body.

Further notes about the types of leucocytes identified above:


A phagocyte is a cell able to engulf and digest bacteria, protozoa, cells, cell debris, and other small particles. Phagocytes include many leucocytes (white blood cells) and macrophages - which play a major role in the body's defence system. Phagocytosis is the engulfment and digestion of bacteria and other anigens by phagocytes.

This is illustrated below.