Eosinophils in the blood: what is it?

Human blood consists of many components, each of which performs its functions. Some of the major formed elements of blood – white blood cells having several varieties, one of them being eosinophils. Being an important part of the human immune system, eosinophils protect the body from invading foreign elements and are a valuable indicator in the diagnosis of many pathological processes.

Eosinophils: what is it?

The white blood cells are a subgroup of granulocytes, one subspecies of which are eosinophils. In specific terms they are called eosinophilic leukocytes or eosinophilic granulocytes. The name of the eosinophils received thanks to the good sensitivity to the color of eosin – special dye pink. Other dyes these cells in their study is not sensitive.

Eosinophils are formed and Mature within 3 to 4 days inside the red bone marrow. After maturation, the cells circulate in the blood for several hours, and then penetrate into the tissues of the body, most often in the mucous membranes of the respiratory and digestive systems or skin, where they continue to live 10 to 12 days. After the end of the life span they die, being replaced by a new one. Responsibilities eosinophils, their functions:

  • bactericidal (decontamination and destruction of bacteria);
  • immune (neutralization and destruction of complexes antigen-antibody);
  • antiallergic (neutralize histamine and serotonin);
  • antiparasitic (neutralization and destruction of parasites);
  • anti-inflammatory (presence of large number of cells in inflammation);
  • diagnostic (are markers of the presence of parasitic infestations, allergic, inflammatory, infectious and neoplastic processes).

The granules of eosinophils contain active bactericidal substances that can neutralize alien to the body substance. Alien are microorganisms, protozoa (Giardia, the causative agent of amoebic dysentery, etc.), helminths, their larvae and eggs. The destruction of parasites, strangers and unnecessary body cells easily uses its own enzyme, solvent foreign protein. To advance to a harmful agent eosinophils use their inherent properties:

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  • extravasation (exit from blood stream by penetration through the vascular wall);
  • amoeboid movement («overflow» from temporary outgrowths of the pseudopodia);
  • the chemotaxis (reaction advancing toward a chemical stimulus).

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Rules of eosinophils in the blood

The leukocyte formula considered the percentage of the eosinophils to total leukocytes. In quantitative terms, the 1% will be equal to 100 cells per ml (1·10 in 9 degrees per liter). Normal adult and teenager from the age of 13 is considered a content from 1% to 5% (sometimes permitted is 0.5%). Normal values in children vary according to age (in percentage):

  • up to 1 year – from 1 to 6;
  • 1 – 2 years – from 1 to 7;
  • with 2 to 5 years – from 1 to 6;
  • 5 years and older – from 1 to 5.

If a child from 1 to 2 years in the analysis of the total number of leukocytes eosinophils 7, this is a normal indicator. For other ages, including adults, it will be maxed. In children under 5 years eosinophils 6 – the norm in older children and adults excess. If eosinophils 8 – this figure is higher than normal for all ages. To determine the number of eosinophils is examined capillary blood and performed a detailed clinical analysis. For greatest accuracy, the fingers take on an empty stomach in the morning.

The increase in the number of eosinophils what does that mean?

Eosinophilia is a condition in which there is elevated levels of eosinophils in the blood. There are 3 degrees of eosinophilia:

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  • easy – eosinophils 7% to 10%;
  • moderate – 10 to 15%;
  • marked or severe – more than 15%.

Elevated eosinophils indicate the possible presence of pathological processes in the body, such as:

  • Sensitization (increased specific sensitivity) in food allergies and chronic allergic processes (when vasomotor rhinitis, bronchial asthma, atopic dermatitis, hay fever and other diseases).
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  • Allergic reactions to various medications (often antibiotics, anti-tuberculosis funds, but may be on any drug).
  • Parasitic infestation (ascariasis, enterobiasis, giardiasis, opisthorchiasis, trichinosis).
  • Severe infection in the acute phase (syphilis, gonorrhea, tuberculosis, chicken pox, mononucleosis, scarlet fever).
  • Skin diseases (dermatitis, ringworm, eczema).
  • Malignant neoplasms.
  • Diseases characterized by inflammatory processes in connective tissue (rheumatism, rheumatoid arthritis, chorea minor).
  • Certain blood diseases (aplastic anemia, lymphoma).
  • Specific lung disease (sarcoidosis, eosinophilic pneumonia).

During the peak of the infectious diseases eosinophilia is considered a positive factor, as it indicates the beginning of recovery.

Low rates

In some cases, a decrease in eosinophils in the blood to levels below 1% and eosinopenia. This condition speaks to the deterioration of the immune system. Typical causes eosinopenia:

  • The initial stage of severe surgical infections and inflammatory diseases.
  • Burns, especially extensive, with a large number of purulent discharge.
  • Poisoning by salts of heavy metals.
  • Sepsis of body.
  • Aplastic processes in red bone marrow.
  • Painful or infectious shock.
  • The first day of myocardial infarction.
  • Severe pathological processes in the adrenal glands, thyroid gland.
  • Of traumatic injury.
  • The post-operative period.
  • Corticosteroid therapy.
  • B12-deficiency anemia.
  • Advanced stages of leukemia.
  • Chronic stress.
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Eosinophils are absent (their level falls sharply to 0) during the height of typhoid fever, dysentery, acute appendicitis, severe leukemia. A slight decrease is characteristic of people with down syndrome, as well as chronic sleep deprivation.


A change in the level of eosinophils find out the cause of this condition through a series of additional surveys. Depending on the clinical picture and the patient’s conduct biochemical and serological blood tests, lungs x-ray, electrocardiogram, fecal tests, scrapings from perianal folds, duodenal intubation with the inoculation of a nutrient medium. Depending on the results, the doctor prescribes treatment. In severe conditions the therapy of the underlying disease.