Talk:White blood cell

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100% Total Cells[edit]

The chart that lists the percentages, adds up to 100%. I am sure that it is simply due to rounding, but maybe a disclaimer below the bottom mentioning that should be inserted. I would insert it myself but I will leave it to better people than I to do it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by PedroDaGr8 (talkcontribs) 21:49, 11 November 2007 (UTC) www.cellsalive/cells/cell_model.htm

Immune cell redirect[edit]

IMO, the contents of Immune cell should be here, and that page should be a redirect.

'Immune' implies the response is specific to something you've experienced before. (e.g. The HepB vaccine will make you immune to hepatitis B)

Neutrophils/Macrophages aren't really thought of as being 'immune cells'.

Neutrophils and macrophages are most definitely thought of as being "immune cells". Have you ever heard of innate "immunity"? -- (talk) 07:46, 10 November 2011 (UTC)


I am sure that it spell leuCocytes--that's how we spell it for As-level Biology. Our text bood "Biology1" endorsed by OCR and our revision guide "Lett's Revise" both spell it LeuCocytes.

Are you sure that LeuKocyte is a variety spelling instead of spelling mistake? Cherubfish 19:28, 30 April 2006 (UTC)

Leukocyte 5.6 million Google hits, leucocyte 1.23 million hits. JFW | T@lk 22:21, 30 April 2006 (UTC)

hm...then that's probably a US UK variation. The proper UK spelling is leucocytes anyway. I'll add that in. Cherubfish 17:35, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

No it's not a UK-US variation, the UK term is also leukocyte..

It would be helpful if someone with specialist knowledge could either confirm or deny that the term is 'leukocyte' in UK English as I have found the 'leucocyte' spelling on several UK websites (listed below), as well as in Indian and Australian sources, and have so far been unable to find any information about the usage of the spellings. Is it possible that 'leucocyte' was more commonly used in British English some time ago but the spelling with a 'k' has become more popular in recent years? Some definite information would be useful. I think the existence of an alternative spelling warrants further consideration amd shouldn't be simply disregarded.
Also, marks 'leucocyte' as a chiefly British spelling.
'Leucocyte' is the only spellng of the word in the 1984 Longman Family Dictionary.
Oxford Reference Online also includes entries for 'leucocyte' such as
leucocyte /'lu:k()st/ ( also leukocyte )
→ noun
(Physiology) a colourless cell which circulates in the blood and body fluids and is involved in counteracting foreign substances and disease; a white (blood) cell. There are several types, all amoeboid cells with a nucleus, including lymphocytes, granulocytes, and monocytes.
- DERIVATIVES leucocytic adjective .
("leucocyte noun" The Oxford Dictionary of English (revised edition). Ed. Catherine Soanes and Angus Stevenson. Oxford University Press, 2005. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. University of Salford. 29 December 2008 <>)
leucocyte n. Any of the various types of large white corpuscles of the blood and lymph in humans and other vertebrates, including phagocytes with granular cytoplasm and other immunologically active cells with clear cytoplasm. US leukocyte . Also called a white blood cell or white blood corpuscle . See also granulocyte , lymphocyte , monocyte , stem cell . Compare erythrocyte . [From Greek leucos white + kytos a vessel]
("leucocyte n." A Dictionary of Psychology. Andrew M. Colman. Oxford University Press, 2006. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. University of Salford. 29 December 2008 <>)
Jammycaketin (talk) 14:08, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
Note/comment: Every U.S. hospital I have been or worked in spelled it "leukocyte" (had occasion to view "lab slips"). Webster's II New Riverside University Dictionary puts the entry at "leukocyte" and has "leuco-" defined as a variant of the form with only the letter k in fourth position. Punctilious-one (talk) 14:20, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

where is the name come from?[edit]

How come white blood cell is called as it is?

Leukocyte is the medical term for white blood cells. Leuko- means "white" and -cyte means "cell". These "white cells" are found in the blood. Hence, "white blood cells". Rdbrd82 20:01, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

Because it's not red. Seriously, it is because the Buffy coat after centrifugation of blood looks white, while the hematocrit looks red. The leukocytes (literally: white cells) hang out in the Buffy coat. JFW | T@lk 13:53, 30 November 2005 (UTC)

50 000 cells per drop of blood[edit]

This would be clearer if it was replaced by the amount per liter, or the first amount per liter be converted to amount per drop. a thing 01:43, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

A drop is about 1/15mL. So 50 000 cells per drop is 7.5×105 per mL, or 7.5×108 cells in a litre. But the article says "There are normally between 4×109 and 1.1×1010 white blood cells in a litre of healthy adult blood." It seems that 50 000 in a drop is a big decrease, not an increase? Something is wrong here. Cafewalter 07:23, 16 December 2006 (UTC)


Yes, would be nice. But I don't have a photomicroscope and a set of blood smears. If you can find any PD images we'd be grateful. JFW | T@lk 21:52, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

New pictures for the leukocytes at the top of the page is imperative. The eosinophil (as stated below as well) does not have the characteristic orange coloring that one would see under a microscope. Also, the basophil is a much more splendid cell to behold under a microscope as it has large granules and a beautiful magenta-blue coloring. One of the ways I can tell the difference between lyphocytes and monocytes is that monocytes commonly contain vacuoles. The picture has none of these. I'm unsure of the rules for adding photos into an article. Does anyone know? Rdbrd82 19:58, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

Move to "leukocyte"?[edit]

Every1blowz (talk · contribs) just moved the article from "white blood cell" over to "leukocyte"; I undid the move since it was done using cut-and-paste and thus destroyed the article is based on the fact that the word leukocyte is both the original, and the “scientific” name of white blood cells. Most, if not all scientific and medical organizations formally recognize and prefer the word leukocyte, not white blood cell, although both are used in the media. Further, the word “white blood cell” is a layman term, per se, and is inappropriate for an encyclopedia which should aim for accuracy and consistency. You wouldn’t call a lymphocyte a “lymphatic cell”, would you? --Every1blowz 07:59, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

If people agree with this reasoning, then we should initiate a proper move. AxelBoldt 19:04, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

I'm not sure if I agree here. The term "white blood cell" is in very common use, even amongst experts (some haematologists regard themselves as "white" haematologists because they deal with white blood cell disorders). The terms are synonymous. JFW | T@lk 00:09, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
Hi. Thanks for catching my bad move AxelBoldt, I wasn’t aware there is another method. You learn something new everyday I guess.
As for the whether the article should be on leukocyte or white blood cell, for now it should stay here I suppose as there is some disagreement. But my main hope is to get people to start using the more formal name (which is leukocyte, I think), if not throughout Wikipedia than at least for the individual article itself.
JFW, you’re right, the terms are synonymous, but I’m going to play the Devil’s advocate for a second and mention that many Wikipedia articles use the more formal term when possible. For instance, baby redirects to infant, venipuncture instead of blood draw, automobile instead of car, etc. I just think Wikipedia should be as consistent as possible.
For the meantime we should wait for a few more people to voice their opinions and than decide whether to move from there. Again, I apologize for my move last time, it was a bit premature and incorrect. Regards, --Every1blowz 01:46, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

I have previously argued that scientific precise terms are to be favoured over imprecise lay ones. I personally moved [[heart attack]] to myocardial infarction, because not every "heart attack" mentioned in the public discourse refers to myocardial infarction. In contrast, when the terms are equally precise, I'm open to persuation whether the scientific term should be used. I gave the example that while few doctors would use the term "heart attack" in professional meetings, the term "while blood cell" is in common use in clinical settings. Perhaps a Googlefight is necessary to guide us in this discussion. JFW | T@lk 00:07, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

I fully support moving this page to Leukocyte. Scientific terms are preferable over descriptive terms. "White blood cell" may be in common use but as mentioned above there is a logical precedent for naming pages formally.-- Serephine talk - 02:19, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
I also support the move to leukocyte, it is scientifically more correct, and it also seems to be more consistent with Wikipedia policy. It looks like nothing has happened for six months, so if nobody objects, would it be okay to just move it? --Thrane (talk) 15:54, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
I oppose the move. I'm not aware of any ambiguity with the term White blood cell and it has the advantage of being Plain English. Remember, Wikipedia is a general reference. (talk) 13:19, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
I support the move for reasons already stated. Although the terms are used interchangeably, WBC is just not as scientifically relevant. In addition, the opposition here did not identify themselves. This should be moved as quickly as possible. Quod erat demonstrandum 3.14159 (talk) 21:17, 22 October 2013 (UTC)


The photograph of the eosinophil does not look like an eosinophil. It should have eosinophilic (orange) granules when stained with H&E. Or it should have an explanation saying what stain has been used. Does anyone have a better photograph? Snowman 10:44, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

Removed random fact[edit]

"A leukemia patient may have as many as 50000 white blood cells." When adding this type of information to an article, a reference needs to be included.--DO11.10 23:24, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

How to help white blood cells? Can someone find out, and write up what to eat to help your white blood cells? Example, Milk --> bones(calcium), beans --> muscles(protein). What helps your white blood cells?

Human physiology really does not work in this facile, reductionist manner. Yahoo questions or a physiology class might be more useful.Lesotho 14:38, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

would there be any medications that could cause the decrease in WBC ?[edit]

Recently a elderly woman at the age of 65yrs, was diagnosed with pneumonia. When her CBC`s came back the WBC - 4, then after afew days of receiving antibiotics by I.V. her WBC- 7, then after 2 days her WBC- 0. Dr.`s were very alarmed at the decrease. After the DR. talked to a specialist in the city, it was decided that the patient will be taken off her meds. Now at this point i don`t remember what all her medications are. The Dr.`s are saying there is a possiblity of a certain med. that might be the destroyer of the WBC`s. So my question is there a few or a lot of medicines out there that will destroy the production of WBCs ? and if so how many? What and how do they destroy the WBC`s?


When treating pneumonia a kind of cortisone is sometimes prescribed in order to decrease the inflammation of the lungs. Cortisone will, by hormonal action, decrease the amount of leucocytes formed. This could explain the sudden drop in WBC. TokeS

The phrase "...produced at the rate of 1,000 million per day..." at the beginning of the article is scientifically awkward. I propose changing it to "...produced at the rate of 1 billion per day..."Lesotho 19:38, 19 March 2007 (UTC)-1

Data Conversion[edit]

Can someone please make the amounts in this paragraph into the same format so that they can be understood?

There are normally between 4×109 and 1.1×1010 white blood cells in a litre of healthy adult blood. In conditions such as leukemia this may rise to as many as 50,000 white blood cells in a single drop of blood (only 1% of blood on average is a white blood cell). As well as in the blood, white cells are also found in large numbers in the lymphatic system, the spleen, and in other body tissues.

SadanYagci 16:16, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

No, because that is the convention in scientific notation.Lesotho 19:02, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

It may be, but this is not just for scientists to read. It is for everyone to read. The first numbers are for a litre of blood... the second is for a drop of blood. Can these be made into something more easily understood? In an adult with leukemia what is the amount in a litre of blood, or in a normal adult how much is in a drop of blood? The statement doesn't help much if the person reading it can't see how much of a difference there is between the two. SadanYagci 03:11, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
I'd have to agree, the numbers don't mean much to anyone except a clinician or pathologist, and they don't need Wikipedia to check their facts. Instead a better idea would be to give the relative increase or decrease in the number of leukocytes in order to convey the magnitude of the change. Likewise, percentages are always more useful than raw numbers. -- Serephine talk - 02:19, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

If there is another vote in favor, then I will do the calculations and make the change. However, the belief that "percentages are always more useful than raw numbers" demonstrates an unconvincing grasp of mathematics and statistical methodology. Lesotho 22:46, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

Ha ha, ouch... just keeping the general public's interests at heart here. Personally I think that when aiming to convey an order of change you can't go past using percentages, people not familiar with scientific notation won't immediately be able to grasp that 1x10-3 is 1000 times larger than 1x10-6. But I will retract my use of "always", as it is true that figures written as interpretations of the raw data tend to lose some of their inherent meaning. Just remember though that it's one thing to give the data and another thing to make the data mean something in context. -- Serephine talk - 01:50, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

Percentage of leukocytes in human blood[edit]

In the top part of the article is written: There are normally between 4×109 and 1.1×1010 white blood cells in a litre of blood, making up approximately 1% of blood in a healthy adult.
Is that correct? It is inconsequent with the article about blood, in which is written that leukocytes make up 3% of the blood. Korenwolf 08:56, 16 May 2007 (UTC)

Yes, actually both pages are "right" they are just presenting it differently (as a percentage of blood cells WBC are about 3%, as a percentage of blood it is about 1% (a lot of blood is plasma)). Nevertheless, I changed the "blood" page to reflect the percentage of blood as it is here, and they are now consistent. Thank you for your keen observation.--DO11.10 18:36, 16 May 2007 (UTC)

White blood cell and cancer cell metastasis drivers[edit]

Scientists have discovered that torrents of microscopic waves propel white blood cells toward invading microbes. The discovery - recorded on videotape -- holds the potential for better understanding and treatment of cancer and heart disease. [1] Brian Pearson 14:24, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one WikiProject had rated the article as start, and the rating on other projects was brought up to start class. BetacommandBot 16:32, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

missing buzzword / wiki-link[edit]

This article should, somehow, point to Leukocytosis.
Just passing through, --Jerome Potts (talk) 18:13, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

 LULU LEMON x 10 = PUNTI CANA  —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:37, 14 January 2009 (UTC) 

Conflict with the Neutrophil's section.[edit]

The table states that they make up 54-62% of white blood cells. This conflicts with the Neutrophil article which states that thay make up approx 70% of the white blood cell population. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Draconeko (talkcontribs) 16:37, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

Blood counts are highly variable and species dependent. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:06, 30 April 2012 (UTC)


Are phagocytes a subset of white blood cells or vice versa ? I can see references to phagocytosis in this article but not phagocytes...GrahamHardy (talk) 23:27, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

Alternative cellular theory. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:09, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

You have atleast up to 600,048,677,000,000475 white blood cells in your body.One drop of blood contains up to 7,000 to 25,000 white blood cells.Whenever a germ or infection the body,the white blood cells snap to attention and raceto the scene of the crime. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:47, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

The "Phagocytes" article in Wikipedia links to this article, but I sought in vain on this page for any use of the term "phagocyte"; however, the subtypes of phagocytes named individually on this page are also held to be subtypes in the "Phagocytes" article. If you agree, would you please add an umbrella or spanner header of "Phagocytes" above the particular subtypes discussed? I was confused for quite a few minutes by the lack thereof.Punctilious-one (talk) 14:30, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

The life span of neutrophils is not 8 days but less than 10 hours. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:52, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

Last sentence of Neutrophil section[edit]

Hey! First time being active in this form on wikipedia.

anyway, the last few sentences of the Neutrophil section...

Most common cell seen in acute inflammation, comes in and kill foreign substance.They make up 60-70% of total leukocyte count.The life span of neutrophil is about 8 days.

It looks as though some one just took bullet points and put them in sentence form.

Some clean would be nice — Preceding unsigned comment added by Nasir206 (talkcontribs) 05:49, 4 June 2011 (UTC)

CD4+ (helper) section[edit]

This section doesn't seem accurate to me - "B cells produce antibodies to destroy antigen" surely something else has to mediate this? The grammar is dodgy here as well. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:45, 25 August 2011 (UTC)

Overview table confusion--7 types listed, 5 types stated[edit]

The overview table in Types lists 7 types, in contrast to the second lede sentence (cited) stating 5 types and to the intro paragraph for the Types section itself which also works out to 5 types (3 granulocytes and 2 agranulocytes).

Consider indenting or possibly removing macrophage and dendritic cell lines from this table, as they are subtypes rather than primary types? apdshoe (talk) 15:38, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

Macrophages and dendritic cells should remain on the table, as they have important functions that are distinct from that of monocytes. The Types section should be updated to include these cells. -- (talk) 07:54, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

According to my textbook (Biology, 2nd edition by Brooker et al.) a dendritic cell is not a leukocyte.

Macrophages and dentritic cells are most definitely leukocytes, but they are not common in the blood. Monocytes migrate into tissues and differentiate into MOs and DCs. There's also a distinct DC subset that isn't monocyte derived. Resident (ie resident peritoneal, kupffer cells, microglia) vs. elicited macrophages (during an infection) have many different properties. Dendritic cells and different macrophage subsets are still considered leukocytes.

Well even worse, I am currently reading [1]; they specify that there are 3 cell type. The types are: a) Lymphocytes: B-lymphocytes, T lymphocytes, natural killer cells b) Antigen - presenting Cells: dendritic cells, macrophages, follicular dendritic cells c) Effector cells: T-lymphocytes, macrophages, granulocytes It seems to me that there is overlapping, and even literature did not agree how to really type white blood cells. Flowright138 (talk) (contributions) 03:06, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

Let's refocus this discussion... The question is not about whether macrophages and dendritic cells are monocytes. The aim here is to resolve whether or not the table is causing confusion, and it most certainly is. Therefore, I am going to comment out only these features of the table so as to eliminate the confusion for the time being. If members feel otherwise, let us resolve the table appropriately; I will not delete any information though. Furthermore, I will remove the tag in the text. (Also, please indent new comments for ease of readability) Quod erat demonstrandum 3.14159 (talk) 20:57, 14 September 2013 (UTC)
  1. ^ Basic Immunology 2nd Ed by Abul K. Abbas and Andrew H Lichtman page 10


Currently the top of the article states: "leukocytes (also spelled "leukocytes")"

Medication causing leukopenia[edit]

I didn't make any edits to the article, as I wish for some other expert to review it first. In the section "Medication causing leukopenia" within the article, no mention is made of drugs used to treat cancer, which are a very important class of drugs that can induce low leukocyte count. In mention was made of this, with two references provided:

<<Chemotherapy targets cells that grow rapidly, such as tumors, but can also impact white blood cells, because they are characterized by bone marrow as rapid growing.[3] A common side effect of cancer treatment is neutropenia, the lowering of neutrophils (a specific type of white blood cell).[4]>>

I believe this should be added in this article as well. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Maslesha (talkcontribs) 06:48, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

Adding disorders of white blood cells section[edit]

Hi! I have been working on this section in my sandbox and am planning add it to the article soon. Just wanted to run the idea by any watchers to see what you think. Given that part of the scope of the WBC article is pathology, I think it would be a relevant addition. I would love to hear any feedback you have. Thanks! LaurenSMS4 (talk) 05:22, 4 December 2013 (UTC)

Cell counts section?[edit]

Hi White blood cell page watchers. I was thinking about also adding a section on how white blood cells are counted (referring ppl to flow cytometry, etc) and about absolute counts versus percentages. Not sure if this will be helpful or information overload. I think its relevant to refer people visiting the page to lab techniques for how these cells are analyzed, but I am definitely open to not adding it if you think its overkill. Let me know if anyone has any feedback! thanks!! LaurenSMS4 (talk) 16:44, 11 December 2013 (UTC)

I think this is a very good idea, but will take work to incorporate smoothly. -- Scray (talk) 05:48, 23 December 2013 (UTC)

Use of term "dysfunction"[edit]

The word "dysfunction" is used inconsistently and IMHO incorrectly in multiple places. Dysfunction means abnormal function, whereas in the article it's used to describe aplastic anemia (lack of mature cell production), AIDS (closer to dysfunction, though AIDS includes deficiency as a primary hallmark), and a variety of others. I suggest restricting "dysfunction" to situations in which WBC are present but not functioning properly. -- Scray (talk) 05:51, 23 December 2013 (UTC)


The disambiguation section is nothing but an advertisement. It will be relevant to the tiniest fraction of the people landing on the page. It should be removed. (talk) 11:30, 21 March 2015 (UTC)biologystudent

If you mean the hatnote about the album - I agree. - Rod57 (talk) 21:08, 13 September 2015 (UTC)