Neutrophils belong to the group of white blood cells (leukocytes) and are part of the innate immune system. If the neutrophil granulocytes are increased, there is often an inflammation behind it. Which values are normal and what deviations mean.
At a glance:
What are neutrophils?
With a share of 50 to 80 percent, neutrophils make up the majority of white blood cells. They are formed in the bone marrow and after a few hours pass through the bloodstream – attracted by certain messenger substances – into organs or tissue. Here they become so-called “scavenger cells” (phagocytes), which absorb and decompose unwanted intruders or kill or inactivate them with the help of so-called superoxide anions. Depending on their degree of maturity, a distinction is made between two types of neutrophil granulocytes:
- Segmented granulocytes: Mature neutrophil granulocytes have a nucleus consisting of two to five parts and are therefore called segmented granulocytes. In healthy people, they make up around 95 percent of neutrophils.
- Rod-like granulocytes: Immature neutrophils have an unsegmented, rod-shaped nucleus and are therefore called rod-shaped granulocytes. Most of them mature into segmented granulocytes before they leave the bone marrow – therefore they only make up about five percent of neutrophils. If this proportion increases, experts speak of a so-called “left shift”.
Which granulocyte count is normal?
To see if neutrophils are too low or too high, a blood sample will be taken and examined in a laboratory. The reference ranges for normal values of neutrophils are given as a percentage of the total white blood cell count. Depending on age and gender, they are:
|Alter||Normal values for women||Normal values for men|
|from 18 years||34-71%||34-67,9%|
When is the granulocyte value determined?
Granulocyte counts are usually determined when a person shows signs of infection or autoimmune disease. Sometimes changes in granulocyte values are noticed by chance when a complete blood count is taken as part of another examination.
When the neutrophil count is too low
If the neutrophil granulocytes are too low, experts speak of neutropenia. In some cases this granulocyte deficiency is congenital (Kostmann syndrome or glycogenosis), but usually one of the following causes is behind it:
When the neutrophil count is increased
If the neutrophil granulocytes are increased, experts speak of neutrophilia. It often occurs in connection with acute or chronic inflammation, but it can also be triggered by:
Neutrophil granulocytes may also be increased after taking certain medications (such as glucocorticiodes or hormonal contraceptives).
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Source: Lifeline | Das Gesundheitsportal by www.lifeline.de.
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