Monocytes: how to interpret a rate too low or too high?


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Monocytes: how to interpret a rate too low or too high?


Monocyte level in the blood, what is it?

First thing to know: there are (in total) 5 families of white blood cells. Among them are monocytes: made by the bone marrow, these large cells circulate in the blood and fulfill an essential function since they are responsible for "eating" bacteria, viruses and parasites - this is phagocytosis.

" Monocytes are cells produced very quickly, within 48 hours onlyexplains Dr. François Blanchecotte, Doctor of Pharmacy and President of the Union of Biologists (SDB). When the organism is subjected to aggression (in case of septicemia, for example), monocytes are released "urgently" in the body to defend it. Their lifespan is about 3 days. "

To know : international standards estimate that a "normal" rate of monocytes in the blood is between 0.20 and 0.75 gigas per liter, is 200 to 750 units per milliliter.

Number of monocytes in the blood too low (monocytopenia): what can be the causes?

In which cases are we interested in the number of monocytes in the blood? " You should know that when taking a blood test to a patient, one systematically carries out a hemogram (or "complete hematological examination"): it is a "basic" blood test that focuses on blood cells. whites, red blood cells and platelets "says the specialist.

In special cases, special attention is given to monocytes: " in a person under chemotherapyfor example, we will monitor blood levels of monocytes because, when they begin to reappear, it is a witness of recovery of bone marrow functions - in short, it means that the person starts to get better. "

Warning : " it is difficult to say that a blood monocyte level is too low, because there is no minimum value for this family of white blood cellsexplains Dr. Blanchecotte. These cells are produced "on demand", depending on the aggressions suffered by the body. It is therefore normal that, when the individual is in good health, the blood monocyte level is low. "

A monocytopenia (understand: too low a level of monocytes in the blood) can, however, be caused by a bone marrow disorder or chemotherapy - which has a myelosuppressive effect, that is to say, slows down the formation of cells by the bone marrow.

Too high monocyte rate (monocytosis): what can be the causes?

A monocytose (ie: a monocyte level in the blood that is too high) may first be reactionary: " in case of infectious disease, monocytes are more numerous in the blood because they have an antibacterial action! said Dr. Blanchecotte, nothing abnormal, then.

On the other hand, two serious cases are to be noted:

  • The acute monocytic leukemia is a malignant monocytosis: it is a cancer of the blood that affects only monocytes. " The same monocyte, which is abnormal and blocked at a pre-mature stage, is replicated in excess: on analysis, we thus observe an accumulation of monocytes in the blood, and they are identical. "explains the specialist.
  • The myelomonocytic leukemia is also a cancer of the blood. It can, however, affect several types of blood cells produced by the bone marrow, including monocytes, which will be abnormally numerous.

" Much more rarely, and particularly in patients with refractory anemia (a anemia which has an impact on all blood cells), chronic monocytosis can be observed, that is to say a monocyte level that is too high at all times "adds Dr. Blanchecotte.

Thanks to Dr. François Blanchecotte, Doctor of Pharmacy and President of Union of Biologists (SDB).

Read also :

⋙ Leukemia: symptoms that need to be consulted

⋙ With leukemia, a child is denied entry to an amusement park

⋙ Cancer: a breakthrough discovery to treat leukemia


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