Neutrophils are one type of white blood cells that exist in the human body. The body needs neutrophils to help fight infection, while protecting the body from the threat of various diseases.
White blood cells play a role in the immune system. When you are sick or injured, white blood cells will respond by producing chemicals to fight antigens, such as viruses, fungi, toxins, bacteria, and even cancer cells.
In general, white blood cells consist of several types, with neutrophils and lymphocytes that amount to the most. The number of neutrophils is the most, which is about 55 to 70 percent.
Neutrophils and lymphocytes have almost the same function of maintaining the immune system. If lymphocytes are tasked with recognizing foreign substances, such as bacteria or viruses, and stimulating the production of antibodies in the body, the task of neutrophils is against bacterial infections.
Neutrophils are produced by the body in the bone marrow and channeled throughout the body through the bloodstream. Unlike other white blood cells with limited circulation areas, neutrophils can spread and move freely through the blood vessels and into the tissues throughout the body to fight against all the disturbing antigens.
Neutrophils generally travel throughout the body in the bloodstream. About 3,000 to 6,000 neutrophils are usually present in every milliliter of blood. When injury or infection occurs, the blood begins to gather around the wound site. Chemotactic factors are substances located on injured tissue and foreign invaders such as bacteria. These factors attract neutrophils to the site of injury or infection. Neutrophils attach to the cell layers in the blood vessels at the site of the injury. These leukocytes then press through the lining of blood vessel cells into the area between the cells, known as the interstitial spaces, where they encounter foreign substances and destroy them.
Neutrophil levels in the body can be known through a complete blood test. Generally, doctors recommend to perform this test as an effort to diagnose a disease, know the condition of patients post-chemotherapy, or monitor the progress of the disease experienced.
After the test is done, the doctor can know the level of neutrophils in the blood. Ideally, neutrophil levels range from 1,500 - 8,000 cells per microliter. Each person's neutrophil count varies, depending on gender, age, residence, and equipment that the doctor uses to perform the examination.
The test results are also influenced by their respective health conditions. Therefore, before the test is done, tell your doctor if you are doing radiotherapy, chemotherapy, corticosteroid therapy, or just undergoing surgery.
If the results of the examination indicate the level of neutrophils in your body is higher or lower than normal conditions, meaning there is interference with neutrophils in your body. In general, interference to neutrophils can be divided into two, namely:
Neutropenia is a condition in which the levels of neutrophils in the blood are below normal limits. This condition may be associated with several things, including hepatitis, aplastic anemia, leukemia, bone marrow damage, autoimmune disease, sepsis, or due to the effects of chemotherapy treatment.
Neutrophil levels in the blood that exceed the normal limit, referred to as neutrophilia. This condition can occur due to infection, heart problems, steroid drug use, injury, severe stress, blood cancer, smoking, or exercise.
Neutrophils are an important factor in the body's immune system. Ask your doctor for a neutrophil examination if you have frequent infections or other health problems related to your immune system.
In this article, we have learned that neutrophils are the first responders of the innate immune system. They migrate from the bloodstream to the infected tissue and use the net for phagocytosis and efficiently kill the microbes and prevent them from spreading throughout the body. We have also learned that neutrophils are easily recognizable in microscopes with lobulated core characteristics and cytoplasmic granules.