Healthy Living

Changes in White Blood Cell Levels in Lupus May Show Condition's Development

The Defense System and Its Function

The white blood cells play a very important role in the body’s immune system when comes to fighting off infection. More specifically, the monocytes, which are the largest type of white blood cell that wards off viruses, fungi, and bacteria, can be emitted from the bone marrow into the blood and tissues. They provide one of the first lines of defense against germs. They consist of two subtypes called CD 16-positive and CD 16-negative. The first subtype, the CD 16-positive produces pro-inflammatory molecules, and the second, the CD 16-negative produces macrophages. The macrophages ingest any outside invaders, like germs and viruses. Once germs enter the body,themonocytes,take on the form of macrophages in order to devour these invaders. Then, they release antigens which alert other white cells that subsequently create antibodies. These also kill the same types of germs that were just consumed by the macrophages. Finally, they also mend any damaged tissue by interrupting the inflammation process. This is the body’s complex process for keeping infection at bay and protecting the rest of the healthy tissue.

Therefore, when the numbers are off and an irregular number of white blood cells show up in lab results, this can signal trouble for a patient. A higher level than usual is often a typical response in an autoimmune condition; whereas a low number signifies infection, a bone marrow disorder, or shows a side effect of chemotherapy. As scientists have also mused, what else can the number of white blood cells signify when exploring how a condition develops?