Monocytes: in blood in women and men
Monocytes are important cells of the immune system. They are a type of white blood cells and perform their important functions in the human body. The increase or decrease of their content in the blood may be a physiological phenomenon or indicate the presence of pathology in the body.
What is it, and where do they occur?
The monocyte is a large Mature leukocytes with one nucleus. They belong to the category of agranulocytes, i.e., their cytoplasm contains specific granules, in contrast to neutrophils and some other types of leukocytes. These cells are very active phagocytes. They are able to absorb foreign and private dead cells, bacteria, viruses and other damaging agents. They are formed in the bone marrow, and then go into the blood to perform its functions. Regulation of the formation of these cells takes place partially under the influence of hormones. In this connection, when stress, pain, and other critical conditions can be observed a decrease in the number of monocytes in the blood.
Their role in the body
These cells have the ability to move and often go beyond the bloodstream, concentrating in the areas of inflammation. Producing cytokines and other active substances, they exhibit antitumor, antiparasitic, antiviral and other types of immunity. Their key role is the ability to phagocytosis. This means that they can absorb large cells or small particles. After this process they do not die, in contrast to neutrophils which ingested small particles of foreign substance, almost immediately die.
They can do their work in an acidic environment, in contrast to neutrophils. Monocytes clean the damaged area and prepare the tissue for regeneration. If foreign object is not to absorb or destroy (e.g. metallic foreign body), then these cells build around it restrictive barrier. In addition to participating in immune defence, these cells affect the regulation of hematopoiesis.
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Rate of blood
Normal relative content of monocytes in men, women and children over 14 years, ranging from 3% to 11%. The absolute number of these cells 0,1 – 0,6×109. Children under the age of 13 years the percentage of monocytes, several different 2 – 12%. The normal number of monocytes may influence a number of physiological and pathological factors. So, heavy stress before analysis or a surgery can change the results of the study. If the patient takes any medications, you should notify the doctor in advance.
Why the monocytes may be below the norm?
The decrease in the number of monocytes (monocytopenia) can be absolute or relative. In the first case, drops their blood, and the second is increasing the percentage of other types of leukocytes. Under what situations, the monocytes are reduced in norm:
- In women: pregnancy (especially first trimester) and delivery. During this period there is a decrease in virtually all formed elements of blood. After 3 – 4 months after the delivery of their content comes back to normal.
- Starvation, stress, pain shock. These conditions involve the release of glucocorticosteroid hormones which have inhibitory effect on the synthesis of these cells.
Pathological reasons for the decline in monocytes:
- side effect of taking certain drugs (cytostatics, corticosteroids);
- leukemia (blood cancer);
- the bone marrow failure.
Causes an increase in the levels of monocytes
To determine the increase in the number of these cells is possible, having passed the General analysis of blood. When the percentage of monocytes above the 11 – 12%, their absolute number is above 0,8Х109. That can become a cause of monocytosis:
1. Some infectious diseases:
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- Infectious mononucleosis. Is an acute viral disease that is characterized by lesions of the lymph nodes, liver, spleen and blood composition changes. One of the main signs is the appearance of atypical mononuclear cells and an increased number of monocytes and lymphocytes in the blood.
- Syphilis. Sexually transmitted disease that causes specific bacterium Treponema pallidum. The increase in the number of monocytes is an indirect sign of this disease.
- Brucellosis. The bacteria that cause this disease are transmitted to humans from animals. The disease develops slowly and affects almost all the organs.
- Malaria. Infectious disease that is transmitted through mosquito bites of some species. Symptoms depend on the species of Plasmodium.
- TB. A disease that affects almost all organs and systems, most often the lungs and joints.
- Some of the others.
2. Sepsis or blood infection is a systemic inflammatory reaction in response to inflammation or a mass exit of bacteria and their toxins in the blood.
3. Some types of tumors, such as acute monocytic leukemia, Hodgkin’s disease, lymphoma etc.
4. Autoimmune diseases (scleroderma, systemic lupus).
Diagnosis and treatment
To identify the change in the number of monocytes, it is enough to perform a General analysis of blood. If the indicators do not conform to the norm, rule out all confounding factors (diet, stress, etc.) and repeat the analysis. When the number of monocytes is critical of above or below normal, then the patient is tested for the presence of infection, if necessary do a bone marrow puncture. Treatment depends on the diagnosis billed. Thus, infectious mononucleosis treated with symptomatic drugs (antipyretics, anti-inflammatory), and in leukemia patient needs special treatment.
Monocytes are important cells of the immune system. Their role is to maintain normal immune function and combat foreign agents. The change in the number of these cells in either direction must be investigated carefully in order not to miss the development of severe pathology.