Monocytes: The Definition, Function, and Range

Photo by Dr Graham Beards from Wikimedia Commons

Aug 25, 2020 03:00 PM

Our body consists of millions of cells, tissues, nerves, and etc. Each of these has an important role to play in our body to keep it functioning well. One of the cells that contain in our body is monocytes. What is it? What role does it play in our bodies? 

In this article, Tripboba will share about monocytes which include the definition, function, and the level of monocytes and its meaning. So, keep scrolling this article to learn more about monocytes. 

What are Monocytes?

Photo by Magdalena Wiklund from Flickr

Monocytes are a type of white blood cells. They are the largest cells of the withe blood cells, the size itself is three to four times bigger than the red blood cells.

Monocytes are made in the bone marrow and spread through the blood to tissues in the body, and they can differentiate into a macrophage or a dendritic cell.  

Monocytes Function 

Like other white blood cells, monocytes play important roles in your body, particularly in the immune system. Macrophages work by surrounding and killing microorganisms, get rid of dead cells, and improve immune responses.

Meanwhile, dendritic cells boost immune responses by producing antigens to other cells of the immune system.  The normal range of monocytes is 2 to 8 percent of your white blood cells.

Monocytes Absolute 

Monocyte absolute, or abs monocytes, is the measurement of monocytes that is presented in absolute numbers. It is usually shown in a comprehensive blood test result that also consists of complete blood count. Besides in a form of absolute number, monocytes are sometimes presented in the form of a percentage.

The range of absolute monocytes test result can range slightly, it can be influenced by some factors and the method that is used for the test. Below is the range that is considered as a normal result for monocytes absolute test presented by Alina Health.

Adults         : 0.2-0.95 x 103 cells/microL [3]

Adults, 21 years         : 0-0.8 x 103 cells/microL [3]

Neonates, Birth to 2 days : 0-2 x 103 cells/microL [3]

Neonates, 4 days to 28 days : 0-1.7 x 103 cells/microL [3]

Infants, 1 to 4 weeks : 0.7 x 103 cells/microL [3]

Infants, 6 months to 1 year : 0.6 x 103 cells/microL [3]

Children, 2 years         : 0-1 x 103 cells/microL[3]

Children, 4 to 10 years         : 0-0.8 x 103 cells/microL[3]

Monocytes Low 

Photo by Dr Graham Beards from Wikimedia Commons

So what happens if your monocytes count is low? Low monocytes count can indicate that you have a medical condition. Low monocytes count can also be the result of several medical procedures and treatment for serious illness, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy that can affect the bone marrow.

Diseases that weaken the immune system like HIV and AIDS can also be a factor that can cause your monocytes level count low. Another medical condition that can also cause monocytes to count low is sepsis, which is a bloodstream infection.

Monocytes High 

High monocyte count also indicates that there is a medical condition in your body. If your monocyte count is high, there is a possibility that your body is having an infection pr an autoimmune disease. Several diseases that can cause high monocytes counts are:

  • Lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, both are autoimmune diseases.
  • Leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Sarcoidosis. 
  • Viral infections such as infectious mononucleosis, mumps, and measles.
  • Tuberculosis (TB)
  • Parasitic infection

How to Treat High Monocytes

Photo by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

The treatment for high monocytes depends on the underlying condition that causes an increase in the level of monocytes. If the cause is from a viral infection, then the treatment usually focuses on symptom management. And if the cause of high monocytes is a bacterial infection like tuberculosis, then antibiotics can be prescribed for the treatment.

Meanwhile, if the high monocytes are caused by blood cancer, then the treatment can include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, and stem cell transplant.

So, those are several things that you might want to know about monocytes, from the definition, the possible diseases, as well as how to treat high monocytes.

Keeping our body healthy is important for it to be functioning well, but we never know if something happens in the future. So, it’s important for us to keep a healthy lifestyle, diet, and watch out for our health.


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