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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Describe the general characteristics of leukocytes
  • Classify leukocytes according to their lineage, their main structural features, and their primary functions
  • Discuss the most common malignancies involving leukocytes
  • Identify the lineage, basic structure, and function of platelets

The leukocyte    , commonly known as a white blood cell (or WBC), is a major component of the body’s defenses against disease. Leukocytes protect the body against invading microorganisms and body cells with mutated DNA, and they clean up debris. Platelets are essential for the repair of blood vessels when damage to them has occurred; they also provide growth factors for healing and repair. See [link] for a summary of leukocytes and platelets.

Characteristics of leukocytes

Although leukocytes and erythrocytes both originate from hematopoietic stem cells in the bone marrow, they are very different from each other in many significant ways. For instance, leukocytes are far less numerous than erythrocytes: Typically there are only 5000 to 10,000 per µ L. They are also larger than erythrocytes and are the only formed elements that are complete cells, possessing a nucleus and organelles. And although there is just one type of erythrocyte, there are many types of leukocytes. Most of these types have a much shorter lifespan than that of erythrocytes, some as short as a few hours or even a few minutes in the case of acute infection.

One of the most distinctive characteristics of leukocytes is their movement. Whereas erythrocytes spend their days circulating within the blood vessels, leukocytes routinely leave the bloodstream to perform their defensive functions in the body’s tissues. For leukocytes, the vascular network is simply a highway they travel and soon exit to reach their true destination. When they arrive, they are often given distinct names, such as macrophage or microglia, depending on their function. As shown in [link] , they leave the capillaries—the smallest blood vessels—or other small vessels through a process known as emigration    (from the Latin for “removal”) or diapedesis    (dia- = “through”; -pedan = “to leap”) in which they squeeze through adjacent cells in a blood vessel wall.

Once they have exited the capillaries, some leukocytes will take up fixed positions in lymphatic tissue, bone marrow, the spleen, the thymus, or other organs. Others will move about through the tissue spaces very much like amoebas, continuously extending their plasma membranes, sometimes wandering freely, and sometimes moving toward the direction in which they are drawn by chemical signals. This attracting of leukocytes occurs because of positive chemotaxis    (literally “movement in response to chemicals”), a phenomenon in which injured or infected cells and nearby leukocytes emit the equivalent of a chemical “911” call, attracting more leukocytes to the site. In clinical medicine, the differential counts of the types and percentages of leukocytes present are often key indicators in making a diagnosis and selecting a treatment.

Questions & Answers

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oesophagus also known as food pip
ABDULLAH
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Jackson Reply
Sign of anaemia or whitish color or Hgb luck
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Lubega Reply
glucocorticoids mineralocorticoid and catecholamines
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Jackson Reply
polar unequal share of electron while non polar is equal share
Quran
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Jackson Reply
Bocz of unpaired elections
Javid
because of unpaired electrons
ABDULLAH
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Jackson Reply
Amphipathic molecules are molecules with both polar and non polar regions
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drugs have no medical application (cocaine, heroin, crystal meth). medicine have medical purpose (fentanyl, albuterol, aspirin, ect ect)
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Sintung Reply
stomach
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CT Scan means
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Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 04, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11496/1.8
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