What are Lymphocytes?

Lymphocytes, a kind of white blood cells, are an extraordinary army of defenders functioning in the bustling world of our immune system for our body’s immune defence. Let’s know about these mighty warriors who are continually waging war against invading pathogens, viruses, and microbes in detail.

Know the Types, Normal Range, and How to Treat an Abnormal Count

What function do lymphocytes perform?

Lymphocytes are born in the bone marrow of our body and protect it against various health hazards. Lymphocytes perform their functions under two main categories:

– B lymphocytes

– T lymphocytes

The B lymphocytes generate antibodies to fight the microorganisms present in the body, while the T lymphocytes attack the invading microbes in the body directly.

The lymphocytes or white cells have a recollection of the antigens generated by the immune system to fight microbes. If they encounter the same antigen again, the lymphocytes’ memory cells immediately remember and respond to it.

How do the Lymphocytes function?

Our body’s immune system uses white blood cells to battle against diseases like cancer and the viruses and antigens that are invading our body. With the help of the lymphocytes, the immune system can remember each antigen it encounters. During such encounters, some lymphocytes function as memory cells, which detect antigens and swiftly respond as soon as they encounter them. Thus, these memory cells help to limit the occurrence of some diseases, such as chickenpox and measles, among people more than once.

Roles Performed by B and T cells

1. B Cells- These cells generate antibodies as a protein, which mixes with pathogens, toxins, and other foreign substances to neutralize them. These antibodies bind with the pathogen to limit infection in a healthy cell. B cells, along with the help of other cells, kill infected cells.

2. T cells - These cells protect against infections. Generally, the human body is susceptible to pathogen exposure, like bacteria and viruses, which are limited by the T cells. They even remove cancerous cells. If not for the T cells, exposure to infections would be fatal.

Kinds of T Cells

There are three types of T cells. They are;

– Cytotoxic T cells- These cells are also termed CD8+, and they kill dangerous cells. They first target the harmful cells, recognize them, and work on eliminating any germs or infections from the infected cells through the process of apoptosis. This way, they destroy the cell and cause its death.

2. Helper T cells - They are known as CD4+. They perform similar roles to the cytotoxic cells and a wide range of other tasks. Most of the common responses of adaptive immune depend on these cells; hence they are regarded as crucial for cell immunity.

3. Regulatory T cells: These are the effector cells that actively respond to a stimulus and its effects. These cells work to end an autoimmune reaction when the threat is eliminated.

What Tests are Performed to Detect the Count of Lymphocytes?

1. CBC or Complete blood count test: As the name suggests, this test offers the total count of our blood’s varied components such as hemoglobin, hematocrit, RBCs or red blood cells, WBCs or white blood cells, and platelets.

The below tests can give you the count of lymphocytes:

2. Flow cytometry test: It is a test that can detect and count different cells. Here, the blood samples are collected and tested in a lab by suspending them in a fluid form. The blood is then sent to a flow cytometer for further processes, which analyses these mass cells.

What is lymphocyte count?

Once you get your blood test result, your doctor is the right person to give you the exact details of the range of cell count shown in your blood test result. The count of lymphocytes varies from person to person.

For Adults – The normal level of lymphocyte count is between 1000 – 4800 in one microliter of blood

For children – the normal level of lymphocyte count is between 3000 – 9500 of one microliter of blood

What Do You Mean by Low and High Lymphocytes?

If your test result shows a high lymphocyte in blood, it means an increase in the number of white blood cells than the normal range. A count of 3000 lymphocytes per microliter of blood is regarded as a high lymphocyte count in adults. In the case of children, even 9000 lymphocytes in one microliter of blood are in the normal range.

Hepatitis, Tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS can be the cause of high lymphocyte count.

Lymphocytes low means a decrease in your white blood cells. If the count of lymphocytes is below 1000 in one microliter of blood, it is regarded as low lymphocytes. In the case of children, a count of less than 3000 lymphocytes in one microliter of blood is regarded as low lymphocytes.

How to Get the Right Treatment?

To get started with the proper treatment for high or low lymphocyte count, one first needs to know the cause of the irregular count. Once the issue is found using lymphocyte blood tests, consult your doctor about the cause and discuss the treatment accordingly.

Are low lymphocytes a cause to worry about?

A low lymphocyte might indicate a weak immune system, which can be caused due to various complications. This enhances the risk of diseases. It is better to consult a doctor if your test report shows a low lymphocyte count. The cause could be varied and clarified only by a doctor who can guide you towards proper medication and treatment.

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