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Granulocyte

Definition

Granulocytes are a type of white blood cell that includes neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils. They are called granulocytes because they are made of small granules, which contain important proteins.

Granulocytes help the body fight bacterial infections. Persons who have lower numbers of granulocytes are more likely to get frequent and severe infections.

Granulocytes are counted as part of a white blood cell differential test.

References

Dinauer MC, Coates TD. Disorders of phagocyte function and number. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ Jr, Shattil SJ, et al, eds. Hoffman Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2008:chap 50.


Review Date: 8/1/2009
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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