Reduced neutrophils, increased lymphocytes

Clinical analysis of blood allows the physician to receive information about what is happening with the health of the patient changes. If, however, this study still counts and leukocyte formula, that is, the percentage of the different types of white blood cells, the doctor can assess the condition of immunity and a high probability to assume if the human body is the infectious process and how it is bacterial or viral. As an example, let us consider how to interpret the following situation: decreased neutrophils, increased lymphocytes.

First of all, it is necessary to understand what are neutrophils and lymphocytes. Those and other cells are white blood cells (these include monocytes, eosinophils and basophils), but their role in physiological and pathological processes in the human body, is fundamentally different.


Neutrophils (or neutrophilic granulocytes) are blood cells that contain within themselves granules with enzymes designed to kill bacteria and fungi. Granulocytes of this type are either Mature or immature, to Mature the cells are segmented neutrophils. They are the most strong «eaters» bacterial agents. In the context of an acute infectious process, when destroying bacteria, Mature cells are dying EN masse, the bone marrow begins to actively produce new neutrophils, therefore, in the blood appear in their immature form, the young and the stab.

Reduced neutrophils (a decrease in their absolute number) is called neutropenia. The development of this condition can be triggered by various factors: taking certain medicines, viral infections, severe bacterial diseases (e.g., tuberculosis), diseases of the bone marrow, autoimmune diseases, radiation exposure, and more.

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Lymphocytes are cells that ensure normal functioning of all parts of the human immune system. It is the lymphocytes detect and recognize foreign agents penetrated into the body and also synthesize antibodies against them. The main specialization of cells of this type – the fight against viral infections, therefore, not surprising that in any banal rhinitis caused by SARS, the number of lymphocytic cells in the blood increases.

Elevated lymphocytes may predominate in the blood for a few weeks after recovery – a condition called lymphocytosis. In addition to viral infections, to call it the development of different diseases of the lymphatic system, and diseases such as tuberculosis, toxoplasmosis, brucellosis, whooping cough, etc.

Normal levels

WBC is not stable, the percentage of cells of the leukocyte series is constantly changing and not always for pathological reasons. Especially the variable number of neutrophils and lymphocytes in the blood, and this is connected with the physiological processes occurring in the body.

For example, in early childhood (before 2 years) always lymphocytes more than neutrophils. 4 – 5 years these cells approximately the same number. In adult their ratio is changing – dominated by neutrophils. Thus, considering the results of the blood test, you should always consider the age of the subjects. Average rates by age:

  • adult: natrop. segmented – 47 – 72%, lymphocytes – 19 – 37%;
  • for a child 1 year: natrop. segmented – 20 – 35%, lymphocytes – 45 – 65%;
  • for a child of 10 years: natrop. segmented – 40 – 60%, lymphocytes – 30 – 45%.
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What explains the decrease in neutrophils and increase in lymphocytes?

First of all, we should clarify that concepts such as low neutrophils and high lymphocytes cannot be interpreted the same in different situations. For example, in the adult, neutrophils 45% is close to the lower limit of normal, and maybe 20% – it is already apparent neutropenia. The same situation is possible with lymphocytes, therefore, in the interpretation of analysis plays the role of each percentage and absolute number of cells (calculated by special formulas).

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Thus, small changes in blood (for example, if the neutrophilic cells is slightly reduced, and lymphocytes slightly elevated) may indicate that the person is at the stage of convalescence after acute infectious diseases (mostly viral, but often such notes and, after protracted bacterial infections). In turn, pronounced lymphocytosis and neutropenia usually detected in the acute stage of the disease.

If at the time of the analysis no manifestations of the disease in humans was not, and he was not sick before this, but the number of lymphocytes in his blood, and neutrophil granulocytes reduced, is to look for a hidden focus of infection in the body. For example, such a pattern is characteristic of chronic viral hepatitis. In sickly children after the culprits moderate lymphocytosis and neutropenia are most often cytomegalovirus and Epstein-Bar. In addition, such changes in the blood occur in allergic reactions and parasitic infestations.

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Thus, in assessing the results of blood tests (in particular changes in the number of neutrophils and lymphocytes), it is necessary, first, to pay attention to the age of the person, and secondly, on the presence of symptoms at the time of the survey or shortly before it, and, thirdly, the absolute values of the designated indicators.