Yesterday we talked about red blood cells, and today we will talk about white blood cells.
White blood cells, or leukocytes are the cells of the immune system. They are what helps your body to fight infection and foreign matter.
The most common type of white cell is the Neutrophil. Neutrophils live in the body less than a day, so your bone marrow is constantly making them to protect you from infection. Neutrophils are the first responders for microbial infections. High numbers of neutrophils are seen early in the onset of infection.
The next most common type of white cell are Lymphocytes. There are two main types of Lymphocytes. T Lymphocytes (or t-cells), which help regulate the function of other immune cells, and B Lymphocytes (or b-cells) which make antibodies. Antibodies are the proteins that target bacteria, viruses and other foreign matter in the body.
The final three types of white blood cells are monocytes, eosinophils and basophils.
Monocytes have longer life spans than neutrophils, and are responsible for presenting pieces of pathogens to t-cells so that they will be recognized later.
Eosinophils deal mainly with parasitic infections. You also see large numbers of eosinophils during times of allergic reactions such as hay fever, or hives.
Basophils are also present during times of allergic reactions and are responsible for releasing the chemical histamine.
This is just a very brief overview of the general function of white cells, and their jobs. We will talk more about them as we get more into blood cancers later in the month!
Tomorrow we’ll be talking about my personal favorite blood cells, platelets!