What are lymphocytes?

Every person at least once heard about the cells of the immune system, namely lymphocytes. These white blood cells are found in the blood in very small quantities, but it is they who fight viruses and microbes, and also protect our body from the effects of harmful bacteria. In our article we will look at what lymphocytes are, what is their role in the human body and what types of lymphocytes exist.

Lymphocytes: definition and types

Lymphocytes are part of the immune system. When asked what lymphocytes do in the blood, one can answer that they destroy everything that is foreign and unnecessary in the body, and also form immunity. It is lymphocytes that are responsible for the production of antibodies. Of all the leukocytes in the body of an adult, lymphocytes make up about 40 percent.

Also, these cells regulate the activity of other cells. Today, in medicine, according to functional characteristics, there are three main types of lymphocytes:

  • B-cells that are responsible for recognizing alien structures. They produce antibodies.Antibodies are protein molecules, in fact, are a weapon against alien structures.
  • T-killers, which performs the function of regulating the immune system.
  • And finally NK-cells. These cells control the quality of body cells. They can destroy cells that are pathogenic. This happens in the case of cancer cells. At the same time, these cells are capable of destroying old cells that threaten the body. Sometimes they attack foreign bodies, such as pollen or dust particles, that settle in the lungs.


Lymphocytosis is called an increase in the number of lymphocytes in the blood. This phenomenon is possible with infectious diseases, such as typhoid, syphilis, mononucleosis. Also, the occurrence of lymphocytosis occurs in metabolic disorders. For example, when fasting, dystrophy, use of certain types of drugs. Also lymphocytosis can cause blood diseases, including radiation sickness.

Sometimes a high content of lymphocytes can be caused by stress. Scientifically confirmed that lymphocytosis was found in patients who have undergone heavy surgery.Most often this happens in those people who have had surgery on the spleen. Such lymphocytosis is called reactive.

Finally, malignant lymphocytosis is isolated separately. It can result from the development of acute and chronic diseases, including leukemia. This is a form of cancer that is accompanied by leukocyte emissions.

Decrease in lymphocytes

Decrease of lymphocytes in the blood may be due to immunodeficiency states, as well as severe metabolic disorders, including liver cirrhosis, as well as renal failure. There are frequent cases of decreased lymphocytes in the blood with tuberculosis, blood diseases and tumors.

At the moment, scientists make objective predictions and make a diagnosis associated with an increase or decrease in lymphocytes, only in the case of a complete biochemical blood test. Therefore, in the case of the detection of leukocytes in the blood and in a healthy state, it is recommended to make an additional biochemical blood test.

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