Neutrophil granulocytes (Neu, Neutrophils, polymorphonuclear cells, PMN's, polys, granulocytes, segmented neutrophils, segs)
Neutrophils are the largest group of white blood cells helping protect the body against infections. Neutrophils are produced in the bone marrow. They enter the tissues from the blood to destroy foreign, pathogenic germs through phagocytosis, meaning they ingest and digest foreign material and thendie.
Depending on the maturity degree of neutrophils, they are divided into six stages of maturation: myeloblast, promyelocyte, myelocyte, immature (metamyelocyte), band and segmented cells. Segmented neutrophils have segmented nuclei and are mature cells. The rest are immature cells. Segmented neutrophils outnumber the immature forms in the blood. In response to an infection or inflammatory process in the body, immature neutrophils are released into the blood by the bone marrow, and their amount may help detect a bacterial infection and its severity.
Neutrophilia (an increased number of neutrophils) is the body’s defense mechanism against infections and inflammations. Neutrophilia is generallypresent along with leukocytosis and is typical for bacterial infections.
Neutropenia (low neutrophil count) is an indicator of the functional or organic suppression of blood formation in the bone marrow or increased destruction of neutrophils. A low neutrophil count may occur due to viral infections and some medications. Neutropenia is generally an indicator of a weakened immune system.