What is lymphocytes?
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What Does lymphocytes Mean
The lymphocytes are a class of white blood cells : cells also known as white blood cells , which are responsible for the immune response of the organism. In the specific case of lymphocytes, they are lymphatic cells produced by the bone marrow and lymphoid tissue.
Each lymphocyte has a large, spherical nucleus that is surrounded by a generally small amount of cytoplasm . In this cytoplasm, on the other hand, there are free ribosomes, mitochondria, and the Golgi apparatus.
Lymphocytes regulate the specific or adaptive immune response . In this way, they react against antigens such as tumor cells or microorganisms. It is possible to distinguish between T lymphocytes , the B lymphocytes and called NK cells .
The lymphocyte development process is called lymphopoiesis . This procedure begins in a hematopoietic stem cell of the pluripotent type.
When the level of lymphocytes is high compared to the reference values, it is a case of lymphocytosis . On the contrary, when the amount is lower, it is referred to as lymphocytopenia . It should be noted that the value considered normal is between 20% and 40% of lymphocytes in total white blood cells: a higher percentage reflects lymphocytosis, while a lower percentage reveals lymphocytopenia.
To know the level of lymphocytes it is necessary to perform a blood test . The blood count is carried out in a laboratory and allows you to diagnose different disorders. The alteration of the normal numbers of lymphocytes can be due to an infection or an inflammation, for example.
That said, discovering a case of lymphocytosis or lymphocytopenia requires a blood test. For this, a doctor must request it and refer the patient to a clinic in which a team of specialized nurses perform the extraction and the subsequent complete blood count.
In more precise terms, lymphocytosis occurs when the total number of lymphocytes exceeds 4,500 per cubic millimeter, although the baseline value may be higher in some cases. To diagnose it in a child under one year of age, for example, a value greater than 7000 per cubic millimeter is sought, while for children over one year the number to exceed is 9000 per cubic millimeter.
Lymphocytosis can be classified as follows:
* polyclonal : usually occurs as a result of inflammation or infection;
* monoclonal : usually reflects a proliferative disease , in which the number of lymphocytes increases as a result of a defect in the lymphoid population.
It is common for the doctor to order a repeat blood count if he detects a possible case of leukocytosis, to ensure that there was no error in the sample count.
With regard to lymphocytopenia, the disorders that can affect the decrease of lymphocytes are several; for example, it can be caused by an infection caused by a virus , such as HIV or the flu. The classification of this disorder gives us the following two types of lymphocytopenia:
* acute : takes place for a short period throughout the course of some diseases, but eventually resolves;
* chronic : its duration is much longer and it is not easy to estimate when —or if— it will be resolved.
Lymphocytopenia is not always accompanied by symptoms , but there are some that are associated with it, such as the following:
* enlarged lymph nodes and spleen, often from cancer or HIV;
* fever, runny nose and cough, which usually indicates a viral respiratory infection;
* reduction in the size of the lymph nodes, usually due to a disorder in the immune system.