It is always great to have medical information in your knowledge bank. It helps understand your body a little better. Plus, you can better comprehend the terms that your doctor uses. To begin with, white blood cells, commonly abbreviated as WBCs, are disease-fighting system.

They work under the body’s immune system and help keep infections at bay. Altogether, these cells are involved in identifying intruders in the body, killing the bacteria, and creating antibodies that help safeguard your body against future exposure to the same viruses and bacteria.

WBCs take up to 1% of the blood volume and come in various shapes, size, and functions. Therefore, let’s dig about the world blood cell types and their responsibilities:

1. Neutrophils

Neutrophils contribute to approximately half of the white blood cells. These are often the first line of defense of the immune system that an invader meets with. As these white blood cell type are the first ones to respond, they send signals to other cells, alerting them about the need for their action.

When the body is met with an invader such as bacteria or virus, the bone marrow releases neutrophils. They live up to 8 hours. They respond quickly and multiple quickly as well. A quick outline of their functions include:

  • Work as the first line of defense
  • Target and kills bacteria and fungi

2. Basophils

Basophils are the white blood cell types that are responsible for allergic reactions. They protect the body against bacteria and parasites. To this end, basophils excrete two chemicals namely histamine and heparin. Histamine opens up (widens) the blood vessels, which increases the blood flow to the infected tissues.

On the other hand, heparin is a blood-thinning substance. Moreover, basophils are known for the role that they play in asthma. Plus, these white blood cell types are antigen specific. These don’t have to determine the identity of the invader before taking action.

Summing up basophils help with:

  • Responsible for allergic reaction
  • Protecting the body against parasite and bacteria

3. Eosinophils

Eosinophils are white blood cells that respond and fight bacteria. They also play a crucial role in dealing with infections caused by parasite. What’s more, they are known for their role that they play in allergy symptoms.

Eosinophils mistakenly think that common allergy-causing agents such as pollen are invaders. Consequently, they commence an immune response that leads to the symptoms. These cells make up to 1-6% of all the white blood cells.

In sum, the role that eosinophils are responsible for:

  • Attacking and killing parasite
  • Destroying cancer cells
  • Assisting with allergic responses

4. Monocytes

These are the largest types of white blood cell. About 5% of the WBCs in your bloodstream are monocytes. These are primarily responsible for cleaning up the dead cells. You can understand them better by considering them the trash can that collects all the dead cells.

These are produced by the bone marrow and circulate in the bloodstream for 1-3 days before moving into the tissues and cleaning up dead cells There are three types of monocytes in the human blood. There are dendritic cells, macrophages, and foam cells.

These cells are mainly responsible for:

  • Cleaning up the dead cells

5. Lymphocytes

Lymphocytes are important players in the immune system and white blood cells family. These cells are found in the lymph and circulate in the entire lymphatic system. There are mainly two types of lymphocytes mainly B lymphocytes and T lymphocytes.

T cells are responsible for directly attacking and killing several foreign invaders. On the flip side, B cells are responsible for humoral immunity. This means that remember the invader and produce antibodies that remember an infection.

This helps the body prepare for an attack that may happen again. B cells also help with the efficacy of most of the current vaccines. There is another third type of lymphocytes too. These are titled as natural killer cells and are responsible for defending the body against viruses and tumors.

In short their role covers:

  • Fighting and protecting the body against numerous pathogens
  • Producing antigens to remember the invader for future protection

Common problems that white blood cells may encounter

WBC may face several problems. These may influence the number or functioning of the cells. Such conditions and concerns include:

-Weakened immune system

Often ailments such as HIV/AIDS or cancer treatments can weaken the body’s defense system. Moreover, cancer treatments such as radiation or chemotherapy can destroy WBCs, which can ante up your vulnerability to infection.

-Blood cancer

Leukemia and lymphoma are cancer types that can encourage the uncontrolled growth of an abnormal type of blood cells in the bone marrow. This can lead to a serious case of infection or it can also cause infection.


Certain medicines can also affect your body’s white blood cell count by either raising or lowering it.


A higher than normal white blood cell count indicates some type of infection. It signifies that WBCs are multiply rapidly to destroy an invader such as virus or bacteria.

– Myelodysplastic syndrome

This condition promotes the abnormal production of blood cells including the white blood cells from the bone marrow.

-Myeloproliferative disorder

This condition causes the cells to trigger the excessive production of immature blood cells. Consequently, it can culminate in an unhealthy balance of al blood cells type in the bone marrow. This leads to either too many or too few WBCs in the bloodstream.

Closing thoughts

Summing up, WBCs play an important role in protecting your body. These have several types that place different roles.