Module 5: The Blood

Lesson 4: Leukocytes and Platelets

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Mỗi bài học (lesson) bao gồm 4 phần chính: Thuật ngữ, Luyện Đọc, Luyện Nghe, và Bàn Luận.
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Dưới đây là danh sách những thuật ngữ Y khoa của module The Blood.
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Medical Terminology: The Blood

ABO blood group
blood-type classification based on the presence or absence of A and B glycoproteins on the erythrocyte membrane surface
clustering of cells into masses linked by antibodies
agranular leukocytes
leukocytes with few granules in their cytoplasm; specifically, monocytes, lymphocytes, and NK cells
most abundant plasma protein, accounting for most of the osmotic pressure of plasma
deficiency of red blood cells or hemoglobin
(also, immunoglobulins or gamma globulins) antigen-specific proteins produced by specialized B lymphocytes that protect the body by binding to foreign objects such as bacteria and viruses
substance such as heparin that opposes coagulation
anticoagulant that inactivates factor X and opposes the conversion of prothrombin (factor II) into thrombin in the common pathway
B lymphocytes
(also, B cells) lymphocytes that defend the body against specific pathogens and thereby provide specific immunity
granulocytes that stain with a basic (alkaline) stain and store histamine and heparin
yellowish bile pigment produced when iron is removed from heme and is further broken down into waste products
green bile pigment produced when the non-iron portion of heme is degraded into a waste product; converted to bilirubin in the liver
liquid connective tissue composed of formed elements—erythrocytes, leukocytes, and platelets—and a fluid extracellular matrix called plasma; component of the cardiovascular system
bone marrow biopsy
diagnostic test of a sample of red bone marrow
bone marrow transplant
treatment in which a donor’s healthy bone marrow with its stem cells replaces diseased or damaged bone marrow of a patient
localized bleeding under the skin due to damaged blood vessels
buffy coat
thin, pale layer of leukocytes and platelets that separates the erythrocytes from the plasma in a sample of centrifuged blood
compound of carbon dioxide and hemoglobin, and one of the ways in which carbon dioxide is carried in the blood
clotting factors
group of 12 identified substances active in coagulation
formation of a blood clot; part of the process of hemostasis
colony-stimulating factors (CSFs)
glycoproteins that trigger the proliferation and differentiation of myeloblasts into granular leukocytes (basophils, neutrophils, and eosinophils)
common pathway
final coagulation pathway activated either by the intrinsic or the extrinsic pathway, and ending in the formation of a blood clot
cross matching
blood test for identification of blood type using antibodies and small samples of blood
class of proteins that act as autocrine or paracrine signaling molecules; in the cardiovascular system, they stimulate the proliferation of progenitor cells and help to stimulate both nonspecific and specific resistance to disease
antimicrobial proteins released from neutrophils and macrophages that create openings in the plasma membranes to kill cells
molecule of hemoglobin without an oxygen molecule bound to it
(also, emigration) process by which leukocytes squeeze through adjacent cells in a blood vessel wall to enter tissues
thrombus that has broken free from the blood vessel wall and entered the circulation
(also, diapedesis) process by which leukocytes squeeze through adjacent cells in a blood vessel wall to enter tissues
granulocytes that stain with eosin; they release antihistamines and are especially active against parasitic worms
(also, red blood cell) mature myeloid blood cell that is composed mostly of hemoglobin and functions primarily in the transportation of oxygen and carbon dioxide
erythropoietin (EPO)
glycoprotein that triggers the bone marrow to produce RBCs; secreted by the kidney in response to low oxygen levels
extrinsic pathway
initial coagulation pathway that begins with tissue damage and results in the activation of the common pathway
protein-containing storage form of iron found in the bone marrow, liver, and spleen
insoluble, filamentous protein that forms the structure of a blood clot
plasma protein produced in the liver and involved in blood clotting
gradual degradation of a blood clot
formed elements
cellular components of blood; that is, erythrocytes, leukocytes, and platelets
heme-containing globular protein that is a constituent of hemoglobin
heterogeneous group of plasma proteins that includes transport proteins, clotting factors, immune proteins, and others
granular leukocytes
leukocytes with abundant granules in their cytoplasm; specifically, neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils
(also, packed cell volume) volume percentage of erythrocytes in a sample of centrifuged blood
hematopoietic stem cell
type of pluripotent stem cell that gives rise to the formed elements of blood (hemocytoblast)
red, iron-containing pigment to which oxygen binds in hemoglobin
hematopoietic stem cell that gives rise to the formed elements of blood
oxygen-carrying compound in erythrocytes
destruction (lysis) of erythrocytes and the release of their hemoglobin into circulation
hemolytic disease of the newborn (HDN)
(also, erythroblastosis fetalis) disorder causing agglutination and hemolysis in an Rh+ fetus or newborn of an Rh− person
genetic disorder characterized by inadequate synthesis of clotting factors
production of the formed elements of blood
hemopoietic growth factors
chemical signals including erythropoietin, thrombopoietin, colony-stimulating factors, and interleukins that regulate the differentiation and proliferation of particular blood progenitor cells
excessive bleeding
protein-containing storage form of iron found in the bone marrow, liver, and spleen
physiological process by which bleeding ceases
short-acting anticoagulant stored in mast cells and released when tissues are injured, opposes prothrombin
below-normal level of oxygen saturation of blood (typically <95 percent)
(also, antibodies or gamma globulins) antigen-specific proteins produced by specialized B lymphocytes that protect the body by binding to foreign objects such as bacteria and viruses
signaling molecules that may function in hemopoiesis, inflammation, and specific immune responses
intrinsic pathway
initial coagulation pathway that begins with vascular damage or contact with foreign substances, and results in the activation of the common pathway
yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes due to excess bilirubin in the blood
cancer involving leukocytes
(also, white blood cell) colorless, nucleated blood cell, the chief function of which is to protect the body from disease
excessive leukocyte proliferation
below-normal production of leukocytes
agranular leukocytes of the lymphoid stem cell line, many of which function in specific immunity
lymphoid stem cells
type of hematopoietic stem cells that gives rise to lymphocytes, including various T cells, B cells, and NK cells, all of which function in immunity
form of cancer in which masses of malignant T and/or B lymphocytes collect in lymph nodes, the spleen, the liver, and other tissues
digestive enzyme with bactericidal properties
phagocytic cell of the myeloid lineage; a matured monocyte
bone marrow cell that produces platelets
memory cell
type of B or T lymphocyte that forms after exposure to a pathogen
agranular leukocytes of the myeloid stem cell line that circulate in the bloodstream; tissue monocytes are macrophages
myeloid stem cells
type of hematopoietic stem cell that gives rise to some formed elements, including erythrocytes, megakaryocytes that produce platelets, and a myeloblast lineage that gives rise to monocytes and three forms of granular leukocytes (neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils)
natural killer (NK) cells
cytotoxic lymphocytes capable of recognizing cells that do not express “self” proteins on their plasma membrane or that contain foreign or abnormal markers; provide generalized, nonspecific immunity
granulocytes that stain with a neutral dye and are the most numerous of the leukocytes; especially active against bacteria
molecule of hemoglobin to which oxygen is bound
packed cell volume (PCV)
(also, hematocrit) volume percentage of erythrocytes present in a sample of centrifuged blood
in blood, the liquid extracellular matrix composed mostly of water that circulates the formed elements and dissolved materials throughout the cardiovascular system
blood protein active in fibrinolysis
platelet plug
accumulation and adhesion of platelets at the site of blood vessel injury
(also, thrombocytes) one of the formed elements of blood that consists of cell fragments broken off from megakaryocytes
pluripotent stem cell
stem cell that derives from totipotent stem cells and is capable of differentiating into many, but not all, cell types
elevated level of hemoglobin, whether adaptive or pathological
having a lobed nucleus, as seen in some leukocytes
positive chemotaxis
process in which a cell is attracted to move in the direction of chemical stimuli
red blood cells (RBCs)
(also, erythrocytes) one of the formed elements of blood that transports oxygen
immature erythrocyte that may still contain fragments of organelles
Rh blood group
blood-type classification based on the presence or absence of the antigen Rh on the erythrocyte membrane surface
blood plasma that does not contain clotting factors
sickle cell disease
(also, sickle cell anemia) inherited blood disorder in which hemoglobin molecules are malformed, leading to the breakdown of RBCs that take on a characteristic sickle shape
T lymphocytes
(also, T cells) lymphocytes that provide cellular-level immunity by physically attacking foreign or diseased cells
inherited blood disorder in which maturation of RBCs does not proceed normally, leading to abnormal formation of hemoglobin and the destruction of RBCs
enzyme essential for the final steps in formation of a fibrin clot
platelets, one of the formed elements of blood that consists of cell fragments broken off from megakaryocytes
condition in which there are too few platelets, resulting in abnormal bleeding (hemophilia)
condition in which there are too many platelets, resulting in abnormal clotting (thrombosis)
hormone secreted by the liver and kidneys that prompts the development of megakaryocytes into thrombocytes (platelets)
excessive clot formation
aggregation of fibrin, platelets, and erythrocytes in an intact artery or vein
tissue factor
protein thromboplastin, which initiates the extrinsic pathway when released in response to tissue damage
totipotent stem cell
embryonic stem cell that is capable of differentiating into any and all cells of the body; enabling the full development of an organism
plasma protein that binds reversibly to iron and distributes it throughout the body
universal donor
individual with type O− blood
universal recipient
individual with type AB+ blood
vascular spasm
initial step in hemostasis, in which the smooth muscle in the walls of the ruptured or damaged blood vessel contracts
white blood cells (WBCs)
(also, leukocytes) one of the formed elements of blood that provides defense against disease agents and foreign materials
Nội dung này đang được cập nhật.
Dưới đây là các bài văn nằm ở bên trái. Ở bên phải là các bài luyện tập (practice) để đánh giá khả năng đọc hiểu của bạn. Sẽ khó khăn trong thời gian đầu nếu vốn từ vựng của bạn còn hạn chế, đặc biệt là từ vựng Y khoa. Hãy kiên nhẫn và đọc nhiều nhất có kể, lượng kiến thức tích tụ dần sẽ giúp bạn đọc thoải mái hơn.
The leukocyte, commonly known as a white blood cell (or WBC), is a major component of the body’s defenses against disease. Leukocytes protect the body against invading microorganisms and body cells with mutated DNA, and they clean up debris. Platelets are essential for the repair of blood vessels when damage to them has occurred; they also provide growth factors for healing and repair. See Figure 1 for a summary of leukocytes and platelets.
Although leukocytes and erythrocytes both originate from hematopoietic stem cells in the bone marrow, they are very different from each other in many significant ways. For instance, leukocytes are far less numerous than erythrocytes: Typically there are only 5000 to 10,000 per µL. They are also larger than erythrocytes and are the only formed elements that are complete cells, possessing a nucleus and organelles. And although there is just one type of erythrocyte, there are many types of leukocytes. Most of these types have a much shorter lifespan than that of erythrocytes, some as short as a few hours or even a few minutes in the case of acute infection.

One of the most distinctive characteristics of leukocytes is their movement. Whereas erythrocytes spend their days circulating within the blood vessels, leukocytes routinely leave the bloodstream to perform their defensive functions in the body’s tissues. For leukocytes, the vascular network is simply a highway they travel and soon exit to reach their true destination. When they arrive, they are often given distinct names, such as macrophage or microglia, depending on their function. As shown in Figure 2, they leave the capillaries—the smallest blood vessels—or other small vessels through a process known as emigration (from the Latin for “removal”) or diapedesis (dia- = “through”; -pedan = “to leap”) in which they squeeze through adjacent cells in a blood vessel wall.

Once they have exited the capillaries, some leukocytes will take up fixed positions in lymphatic tissue, bone marrow, the spleen, the thymus, or other organs. Others will move about through the tissue spaces very much like amoebas, continuously extending their plasma membranes, sometimes wandering freely, and sometimes moving toward the direction in which they are drawn by chemical signals. This attracting of leukocytes occurs because of positive chemotaxis (literally “movement in response to chemicals”), a phenomenon in which injured or infected cells and nearby leukocytes emit the equivalent of a chemical “911” call, attracting more leukocytes to the site. In clinical medicine, the differential counts of the types and percentages of leukocytes present are often key indicators in making a diagnosis and selecting a treatment.
When scientists first began to observe stained blood slides, it quickly became evident that leukocytes could be divided into two groups, according to whether their cytoplasm contained highly visible granules:

  • Granular leukocytes contain abundant granules within the cytoplasm. They include neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils (you can view their lineage from myeloid stem cells in Figure 3).
  • While granules are not totally lacking in agranular leukocytes, they are far fewer and less obvious. Agranular leukocytes include monocytes, which mature into macrophages that are phagocytic, and lymphocytes, which arise from the lymphoid stem cell line.

A. Granular Leukocytes

We will consider the granular leukocytes in order from most common to least common. All of these are produced in the red bone marrow and have a short lifespan of hours to days. They typically have a lobed nucleus and are classified according to which type of stain best highlights their granules (Figure 4).

The most common of all the leukocytes, neutrophils will normally comprise 50–70 percent of total leukocyte count. They are 10–12 µm in diameter, significantly larger than erythrocytes. They are called neutrophils because their granules show up most clearly with stains that are chemically neutral (neither acidic nor basic). The granules are numerous but quite fine and normally appear light lilac. The nucleus has a distinct lobed appearance and may have two to five lobes, the number increasing with the age of the cell. Older neutrophils have increasing numbers of lobes and are often referred to as polymorphonuclear (a nucleus with many forms), or simply “polys.” Younger and immature neutrophils begin to develop lobes and are known as “bands.”

Neutrophils are rapid responders to the site of infection and are efficient phagocytes with a preference for bacteria. Their granules include lysozyme, an enzyme capable of lysing, or breaking down, bacterial cell walls; oxidants such as hydrogen peroxide; and defensins, proteins that bind to and puncture bacterial and fungal plasma membranes, so that the cell contents leak out. Abnormally high counts of neutrophils indicate infection and/or inflammation, particularly triggered by bacteria, but are also found in burn patients and others experiencing unusual stress. A burn injury increases the proliferation of neutrophils in order to fight off infection that can result from the destruction of the barrier of the skin. Low counts may be caused by drug toxicity and other disorders, and may increase an individual’s susceptibility to infection.

Eosinophils typically represent 2–4 percent of total leukocyte count. They are also 10–12 µm in diameter. The granules of eosinophils stain best with an acidic stain known as eosin. The nucleus of the eosinophil will typically have two to three lobes and, if stained properly, the granules will have a distinct red to orange color.

The granules of eosinophils include antihistamine molecules, which counteract the activities of histamines, inflammatory chemicals produced by basophils and mast cells. Some eosinophil granules contain molecules toxic to parasitic worms, which can enter the body through the integument, or when an individual consumes raw or undercooked fish or meat. Eosinophils are also capable of phagocytosis and are particularly effective when antibodies bind to the target and form an antigen-antibody complex. High counts of eosinophils are typical of patients experiencing allergies, parasitic worm infestations, and some autoimmune diseases. Low counts may be due to drug toxicity and stress.

Basophils are the least common leukocytes, typically comprising less than one percent of the total leukocyte count. They are slightly smaller than neutrophils and eosinophils at 8–10 µm in diameter. The granules of basophils stain best with basic (alkaline) stains. Basophils contain large granules that pick up a dark blue stain and are so common they may make it difficult to see the two-lobed nucleus.

In general, basophils intensify the inflammatory response. They share this trait with mast cells. In the past, mast cells were considered to be basophils that left the circulation. However, this appears not to be the case, as the two cell types develop from different lineages.

The granules of basophils release histamines, which contribute to inflammation, and heparin, which opposes blood clotting. High counts of basophils are associated with allergies, parasitic infections, and hypothyroidism. Low counts are associated with pregnancy, stress, and hyperthyroidism.

B. Agranular Leukocytes

Agranular leukocytes contain smaller, less-visible granules in their cytoplasm than do granular leukocytes. The nucleus is simple in shape, sometimes with an indentation but without distinct lobes. There are two major types of agranulocytes: lymphocytes and monocytes (see Figure 3).

Lymphocytes are the only formed element of blood that arises from lymphoid stem cells. Although they form initially in the bone marrow, much of their subsequent development and reproduction occurs in the lymphatic tissues. Lymphocytes are the second most common type of leukocyte, accounting for about 20–30 percent of all leukocytes, and are essential for the immune response. The size range of lymphocytes is quite extensive, with some authorities recognizing two size classes and others three. Typically, the large cells are 10–14 µm and have a smaller nucleus-to-cytoplasm ratio and more granules. The smaller cells are typically 6–9 µm with a larger volume of nucleus to cytoplasm, creating a “halo” effect. A few cells may fall outside these ranges, at 14–17 µm. This finding has led to the three size range classification.

The three major groups of lymphocytes include natural killer cells, B cells, and T cells. Natural killer (NK) cells are capable of recognizing cells that do not express “self” proteins on their plasma membrane or that contain foreign or abnormal markers. These “nonself” cells include cancer cells, cells infected with a virus, and other cells with atypical surface proteins. Thus, they provide generalized, nonspecific immunity. The larger lymphocytes are typically NK cells.

B cells and T cells, also called B lymphocytes and T lymphocytes, play prominent roles in defending the body against specific pathogens (disease-causing microorganisms) and are involved in specific immunity. One form of B cells (plasma cells) produces the antibodies or immunoglobulins that bind to specific foreign or abnormal components of plasma membranes. This is also referred to as humoral (body fluid) immunity. T cells provide cellular-level immunity by physically attacking foreign or diseased cells. A memory cell is a variety of both B and T cells that forms after exposure to a pathogen and mounts rapid responses upon subsequent exposures. Unlike other leukocytes, memory cells live for many years. B cells undergo a maturation process in the bone marrow, whereas T cells undergo maturation in the thymus. This site of the maturation process gives rise to the name B and T cells. The functions of lymphocytes are complex and will be covered in detail in the chapter covering the lymphatic system and immunity. Smaller lymphocytes are either B or T cells, although they cannot be differentiated in a normal blood smear.

Abnormally high lymphocyte counts are characteristic of viral infections as well as some types of cancer. Abnormally low lymphocyte counts are characteristic of prolonged (chronic) illness or immunosuppression, including that caused by HIV infection and drug therapies that often involve steroids.

Monocytes originate from myeloid stem cells. They normally represent 2–8 percent of the total leukocyte count. They are typically easily recognized by their large size of 12–20 µm and indented or horseshoe-shaped nuclei. Macrophages are monocytes that have left the circulation and phagocytize debris, foreign pathogens, worn-out erythrocytes, and many other dead, worn out, or damaged cells. Macrophages also release antimicrobial defensins and chemotactic chemicals that attract other leukocytes to the site of an infection. Some macrophages occupy fixed locations, whereas others wander through the tissue fluid.

Abnormally high counts of monocytes are associated with viral or fungal infections, tuberculosis, and some forms of leukemia and other chronic diseases. Abnormally low counts are typically caused by suppression of the bone marrow.
Most leukocytes have a relatively short lifespan, typically measured in hours or days. Production of all leukocytes begins in the bone marrow under the influence of CSFs and interleukins. Secondary production and maturation of lymphocytes occurs in specific regions of lymphatic tissue known as germinal centers. Lymphocytes are fully capable of mitosis and may produce clones of cells with identical properties. This capacity enables an individual to maintain immunity throughout life to many threats that have been encountered in the past.
Leukopenia is a condition in which too few leukocytes are produced. If this condition is pronounced, the individual may be unable to ward off disease. Excessive leukocyte proliferation is known as leukocytosis. Although leukocyte counts are high, the cells themselves are often nonfunctional, leaving the individual at increased risk for disease.

Leukemia is a cancer involving an abundance of leukocytes. It may involve only one specific type of leukocyte from either the myeloid line (myelocytic leukemia) or the lymphoid line (lymphocytic leukemia). In chronic leukemia, mature leukocytes accumulate and fail to die. In acute leukemia, there is an overproduction of young, immature leukocytes. In both conditions the cells do not function properly.

Lymphoma is a form of cancer in which masses of malignant T and/or B lymphocytes collect in lymph nodes, the spleen, the liver, and other tissues. As in leukemia, the malignant leukocytes do not function properly, and the patient is vulnerable to infection. Some forms of lymphoma tend to progress slowly and respond well to treatment. Others tend to progress quickly and require aggressive treatment, without which they are rapidly fatal.
You may occasionally see platelets referred to as thrombocytes, but because this name suggests they are a type of cell, it is not accurate. A platelet is not a cell but rather a fragment of the cytoplasm of a cell called a megakaryocyte that is surrounded by a plasma membrane. Megakaryocytes are descended from myeloid stem cells (see Figure 3) and are large, typically 50–100 µm in diameter, and contain an enlarged, lobed nucleus. As noted earlier, thrombopoietin, a glycoprotein secreted by the kidneys and liver, stimulates the proliferation of megakaryoblasts, which mature into megakaryocytes. These remain within bone marrow tissue (Figure 5) and ultimately form platelet-precursor extensions that extend through the walls of bone marrow capillaries to release into the circulation thousands of cytoplasmic fragments, each enclosed by a bit of plasma membrane. These enclosed fragments are platelets. Each megakaryocyte releases 2000–3000 platelets during its lifespan. Following platelet release, megakaryocyte remnants, which are little more than a cell nucleus, are consumed by macrophages.

Platelets are relatively small, 2–4 µm in diameter, but numerous, with typically 150,000–160,000 per µL of blood. After entering the circulation, approximately one-third migrate to the spleen for storage for later release in response to any rupture in a blood vessel. They then become activated to perform their primary function, which is to limit blood loss. Platelets remain only about 10 days, then are phagocytized by macrophages.

Platelets are critical to hemostasis, the stoppage of blood flow following damage to a vessel. They also secrete a variety of growth factors essential for growth and repair of tissue, particularly connective tissue. Infusions of concentrated platelets are now being used in some therapies to stimulate healing.
Thrombocytosis is a condition in which there are too many platelets. This may trigger formation of unwanted blood clots (thrombosis), a potentially fatal disorder. If there is an insufficient number of platelets, called thrombocytopenia, blood may not clot properly, and excessive bleeding may result.

OpenStax. (2022). Anatomy and Physiology 2e. Rice University. Retrieved June 15, 2023. ISBN-13: 978-1-711494-06-7 (Hardcover) ISBN-13: 978-1-711494-05-0 (Paperback) ISBN-13: 978-1-951693-42-8 (Digital). License: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0). Access for free at

Leukocytes exit the blood vessel and then move through the connective tissue of the dermis toward the site of a wound. Some leukocytes, such as the eosinophil and neutrophil, are characterized as granular leukocytes. They release chemicals from their granules that destroy pathogens; they are also capable of phagocytosis. The monocyte, an agranular leukocyte, differentiates into a macrophage that then phagocytizes the pathogens.

Hemopoiesis is the proliferation and differentiation of the formed elements of blood.

A neutrophil has small granules that stain light lilac and a nucleus with two to five lobes. An eosinophil’s granules are slightly larger and stain reddish-orange, and its nucleus has two to three lobes. A basophil has large granules that stain dark blue to purple and a two-lobed nucleus.

Platelets are derived from cells called megakaryocytes.

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  1. Leukocytes function in body defenses.
  2. They squeeze out of the walls of blood vessels through emigration or diapedesis.
  3. Then, they may move through tissue fluid or become attached to various organs where they fight against pathogenic organisms, diseased cells, or other threats to health.
  4. Granular leukocytes, which include neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils, originate with myeloid stem cells, as do the agranular monocytes.
  5. The other agranular leukocytes, natural killer cells, B cells, and T cells, arise from the lymphoid stem cell line.
  6. The most abundant leukocytes are the neutrophils, which are first responders to infections, especially with bacteria.
  7. About 20–30 percent of all leukocytes are lymphocytes, which are critical to the body’s defense against specific threats.
  8. Leukemia and lymphoma are malignancies involving leukocytes.
  9. Platelets are fragments of cells known as megakaryocytes that dwell within the bone marrow.
  10. While many platelets are stored in the spleen, others enter the circulation and are essential for hemostasis.
  11. They also produce several growth factors important for repair and healing.
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