Agranulocytosis

Agranulocytosis

Dr. KennedyAgranulocytosis is a marked decrease in the number of granulocytes. Granulocytes are a type of white blood cell filled with microscopic granules that are little sacs containing enzymes that digest microorganisms. Granulocytes are part of the innate, somewhat non specific infection-fighting immune system. They do not respond exclusively to specific antigens, as do B-cells and T-cells. Agranulocytosis results in a syndrome of frequent chronic bacterial infections of the skin, lungs, throat, etc. Although “agranulocytosis” literally means no granulocytes, there may, in fact, be some granulocytes but too few of them, i.e. granulocytopenia. Agranulocytosis can be genetic and inherited or it can be acquired as, for example, an aspect of leukemia. Children born with this condition have a condition called infantile genetic agranulocytosis. they lack neutrophils (the type of white blood cell important in fighting infection). These children suffer frequent infections from bacteria which in the past led to death in three-quarters of cases before 3 years of age. Neutrophils, eosinophils and basophils are all types of granulocytes.

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