Lymphocytes are like tiny white blood cells located in the vertebrate immune system which is considered as the prominent region of acquired immune system. These white blood cells are responsible for performing significant activities of the system. The number of these WBCs is around one trillion. There are two recognized types of Lymphocytes. The first is B- cells (Bursa derived cells) which progresses to maturity without being depended on the thymus and the second type is T- cells (thymus cells) which are managed in the thymus. On the higher level, there are basically two categorizations of lymphocytes; these are big lymphocytes and small lymphocytes. T cells and B cells falls under small lymphocytes category while, large lymphocyte category includes NK cells or Natural Killer Cells.
Lymphocyte cells develop in the body during a process known as Haematopoiesis. These cells are originated from lymphoid primogenitor before being distinguished into different categories. There are various pathways in segregation of cells in hierarchical pattern. The formation of these WBCs is known as lymphopoiesis. T-cells transfers to another organ called thymus to mature while B cell matures in bone marrow. After becoming matured, these cells enters into streams for circulation and other lymphoid organs such as lymph nodes, spleen, etc. Once they enter these organs, these cells search for pathogens and tumor cells to kill them.
B cells and T cells
T Cells or Thymus cells and B cells or Bursa derived cells make the majority of cellular constituents of adaptive immune system. B cells are mainly responsible for humoral immunity. on the other hand, T cells are associated with cell mediated immunity. During Antigen presentation, T and B cells are responsible for recognizing non-self antigens. On detecting such invaders, these cells generate responses which can optimally eradicate pathogens and affected cells. Some T cells known as the ‘T- helper’ cells generate cytokines that regulates response of the immune system. Another kind of T cells known as ‘cytotoxic T- cells’ produce toxic granules that have strong enzymes that kill pathogen-infected cells. B cells react to pathogens by producing high amount of antibodies which has the potential to neutralize invaders such as viruses and bacteria.
Natural Killer cells are components of innate immune system and have a significant stance of protecting host from infected cells and tumors. NK cells can distantly identify infected cells and tumors from normal healthy cells. This it does by understanding alteration of surface molecule known as Major Histocompatibility Complex or MHC class I.
Anomalously augmented count of these white blood cells may be indication of viral infection. In rare cases, irregularly increased cell count may be a sign of leukemia. In case if such an anomalous hike is found along with low neutrophil count, then the condition may be caused due to lymphoma.
Low Lymphocyte count
Low count of these WBCs is often attributed to increased infection post surgical procedure or trauma. T cell deduction may also occur due to destruction of these cells during infectious conditions. For example HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus affliction may destroy T cells particularly CD4 subgroup. The body may become vulnerable to opportunistic infections if these T-lymphocytes are not present or are insufficient. Typically progression of HIV is determined through analysis ofCD4 T cells count in the patient’s blood.
Other causes of low lymphocyte may include entrapped cells in spleen or other organs such as lymph nodes. There are also chances that the body is not producing sufficient amount of cells. Possibly the condition may also arise due to combination of two or more of the aforementioned factors.
Diseases caused due to Lymphocytes
Normal degree of lymphocyte in complete blood cell count is necessary for proper functioning of the body. Fluctuations in count of these cells may lead to different anomalies. Generally, increase in the count of Lymphocytes leads to a condition called lymphocytosis and decrease in the count of the cells cause lymphocytopenia.
Lymphocytopenia is one of the common disorders caused due to lymphocyte anomalies. In this condition, the blood of the affected individual does not have sufficient amount of Lymphocytes. These WBCs defends your body from several infections. Around 20% to 40% of the entire White Blood Cell content is made up of lymphocytes. A normal count of these WBCs is anyway between 1000 to 4800 lymphocytes per microliter. In children the normal range is between 3000 and 9500 lymphocytes in per microliter of blood. If the count of these cells is less than 1000 or 3000 cells in one microliter of blood (in adult and children respectively) then the person may be affected with lymphocytopenia.
Treatment for Lymphocyte anomalies
The conditions resulted due to lymphocyte anomaly may range form benign to serious. This disorder may be nondescript and may alone show no symptoms. Persistence of the condition would depend on the cause. Treatment can be determined by understanding the cause of the anomaly. Mild issues caused due to lymphocytes may need no medical intervention while moderate to serious irregularities should be discussed with the doctor immediately.