White blood cells

White blood cells are different from red blood cells in  the fact that they are usually larger in size 10-14 micrometres in diameter. White blood cells do not contain hemoglobin which in turn makes them translucent . Many times in diagram or pictures white blood cells are represented in a blue colour, mainly because blue is the colour of the stain used to see the cells . White blood cells also have nuclei ; that are some what segmented and are surrounded by electron inside the membrane .

            White blood cells

  • What are white blood cells ? 

White blood cells are  made in the bone marrow but they also divide in the blood and lymphatic systems. They are commonly amoeboid ( cells that move or feed ) by means of temporary projections , called pseudopods ( false feet ) and escape the circulatory system through the capillary beds . They help the body  to fight infection and other diseases . White blood cells also called as leukocytes or white blood corpuscles .It is a cellular components of blood which have absent hemoglobin and present nucleus .

  • What are the main role of  white blood cells ?

They protect against illness and disease.  Think of white blood cells as your immunity cells . They flow through your bloodstream to fight viruses , bacteria and other foreign invader that threaten your health .


  • How do white blood cells fight infection ?

White blood cells are detect and deal with infections or foreign molecules that are enter in our body . White blood cells are produce antibodies to fight  the infection and help with other immune response .

Shape of WBCs 

  • What is shape of white blood cells ?

The WBCs  are rounded or irregular cells. They can change their shape and are capable of amoeboid movement . This enables them to squeeze out of capillaries into the tissues. Thus process is called diapedesis .

  • What  are the size of   white blood cells ?
The white blood cells are mostly larger than the  . They range in size from 12 to 20 micrometer .

Number of white blood cells

  • What is the normal range of  WBC ?

The WBCs are far fewer than the RBCs . Their number varies from 6,000 to 8,000 per cubic milimeter of blood . This number is the total count of WBCs . 


  • What does an abnormal white blood count mean ?
It may increase or decrease abnormally in certain conditions . Rise in WBC count is called leucocytosis . It is physiological response to infections ( e.g., pneumonia ) , inflammation such as appendicitis , and malignancies such as leukemia ( blood cancer ) . 


  • What does a low white blood  count mean ?

Fall or low  in WBC count is termed leucopenia . It occurs in conditions such as folic acid deficiency , infection of  AIDS virus . WBC count is useful in diagnosing diseases. 


  • What is the symptoms of low white blood cells ?

    When your white blood cell count is low may not have any signs and symptoms when developing an infection such as :- Redness , swelling , pus formation (when injury in your body)  , cough , sputum , nasal drainage ( respiratory infections ) etc.

  • What diseases affect white blood cells ?
    White blood cells disorder in human body are 
  • LYMPHOMA :- Lymphoma is a blood cancer that occur in human body’s lymphatic system .


  • LEUKAEMIA :- Leukaemia is a blood cancer in which malignant white blood cells multiply inside our bone marrow ; possible cause include genetic predisposition ,smoking , and chemical or radiation exposure .

Leukemia disorder

  •  LEUKOCYTOSIS :- Leukocytosis is an increased number of white blood cells . It’s causes include bacterial or viral infections , certain medications, allergies , smoking , inflammatory diseases , autoimmune disorder, genetic condition and cancer .
  • CHRONIC GRANULOMATOUS DISEASES :- This is a disorder where multiple types of WBCs such as ,neutrophils,monocytes , macrophages lymphocytes are unable to function properly . It is an inherited condition and result in multiple infections .


  • What is colour of white blood cells ?
         The WBCs are colourless . It’s flow with red blood cells and fight with infection .


  • How does white blood cells structure ?
 The leucocytes are nucleated cells. Their cytoplasm contains mitochondria , Golgi apparatus and centrioles besides other organelles .


Formation of leucocytes is called leucopoiesis . It occurs in lymph nodes, spleen, thymus and red bone marrow .

Life span and Disposal 

  • What is the lifespan and disposal of white blood cells ?
The leucocytes survive for a few (3-4) days in the blood . Dead WBCs are phagocytized in blood , liver and lymph nodes. 

Types of white blood cells

The WBCs are of two main types : granular leucocytes or granulocytes and non- granular leucocytes or agranulocytes . Both types have subtypes .
  • How many types of white blood cells are there ?
There are two main types of white blood cells. i.e. Agranulocytes and Granulocytes .
  1. Agranulocytes                                                           

    These leucocytes lack granules in the cytoplasm and have nonlobed, rounded or oval nucleus . Agranulocytes are called mononuclear cells . They have 2 subtypes : monocytes and lymphocytes . The monocytes arise in the bone marrow. The B and T lymphocytes are produced in the bone marrow and thymus respectively , and mature in spleen and lymph nodes . Formation of agranulocytes is termed agranulopoiesis .                             

2. Granulocytes                                                               

 These leucocytes contain granules in the cytoplasm and have lobed nucleus. They are produced in the red bone marrow . Formation of granulocytes is called granulopoiesis . They have 3 subtypes : basophils , eosinophils and neutrophils .


Types of WBCs, Granulocytes and Agranulocytes
  • What is monocytes in WBCs ?

These are the largest of all types of  leucocytes . They have a large , subrounded or bean- shaped nucleus and good amount of cytoplasm . They are very motile. They are phagocytic in action , and engulf  bacteria and cellular debris . Generally they change into macrophages after entering tissue spaces .




  • What is lymphocytes in WBCs ? 

These are about the size of the red corpuscles. They have a very large , rounded nucleus and scanty cytoplasm . They are non motile and non phagocytic . They secrete antibodies to destroy microbes and their toxins, reject grafts and kill tumor cells . They also help in healing of injuries. The lymphocytes differentiate into 2 main types : B lymphocytes and T- lymphocytes . 




  • What is basophils in WBCs ?

These take up basic stains such as methylene blue . They are fairly large and have nearly S- shaped nucleus and a few coarse granules . Granules contain histamine . The basophils release histamine and heparin by exocytosis into the blood .


  • What is eosinophils in WBCs ?

These stain acidic dyes such as eosin . They are also fairly large and have bilobed nucleus and abundant coarse granules. The latter contain hydrolytic enzymes and peroxidase which are discharge into the phagosome . The eosinophils have antihistamine properties . Their number increases in people with allergic conditions such as  asthma or hayfever . They also help in dissolving blood clot.



  •  What is  neutrophils in WBCs ?

These stain equally well with both basic and acidic dyes. They are quite large and have many- lobed nucleus and abundant fine , azurophilic granules . The latter represent lysosomes with hydrolytic enzymes. The  eosinophils are phagocytic in action. They engulf microbes . They are chemotactically attracted to bacterial peptidase .





Function of White blood cells

The white blood cells act as the soldiers , scavengers and builders of the body .

(a) Soldiers :- 

Neutrophils and monocytes defend the body against the attacks of microorganisms . They collect at the site of infection and engulf the invaders . This action is called phagocytosis . Lymphocytes and eosinophils destroy toxins released by the microbes .

(b) Builders :-

Lymphocytes help in scar- formation after injury to heal the wounds . They also form collagen and elastin fibres . They may enter bone marrow and form erythrocytes and  neutrophils .

(c) Scavengers :-

Neutrophils and monocytes also phagocytize the dead cells to clean the body.

Tricks to remember white blood cells 

     ‘ Never Let Monkey Eat Banana


                  ‘  MoLy BaEoNe


Mo – Monocytes
LY – Lymphocytes
Ba – Basophils     
Eo – Eosinophils
Ne – Neutrophils    


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