Lymphocytes are leukocytes that develop from the common lymphoid progenitor. Although they primarily reside in the lymph nodes, they increase in size and increasingly divide once activated and migrate to the infected tissue where they destroy the infecting pathogen.
The different types are differentiated by their respective cell surface receptors and specific function with regards to immunity.
For a healthy person, lymphocytes make up
between 25 and 30 percent of the total leukocyte population, which translates
to between one and two trillion of these cells in a healthy individual.
from their ability to quickly respond to invading pathogens, some (particularly the B and T lymphocytes) have a unique characteristic
in that they can retain memory of antigens they may have previously
encountered. This makes it possible for these cells to immediately destroy such
antigen when they encounter them again. And so, they are also referred
to as memory cells.
Like monocytes, lymphocytes are agranulocytes,
which simply means that they do not have granules. However, some of the larger cells (7-10um) may contain a small amount of scattered granules.
Ranging between 20 and 30 percent, they
are the second largest population of leukocytes, which makes it easier to
identify in a blood smear. While both the B and T cells are produced in the
bone marrow, T cells go on to mature in the Thymus.
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