WBC neutrophil

Neutrophils

Neutrophils are a central part of your immune system and therefore defence against infections. They are produced in the bone marrow and your most abundant type of white blood cell.


When you are sick or injured, antigens prompt your immune system into action. Antigens include bacteria, viruses, fungi, cancer cells and poisons. White blood cells – including neutrophils - produce chemicals that fight and kill antigens.

Certain cancer treatments can lower the number of white blood cells and/or cause them to work less well – a condition called immune-suppression.

Neutrophils are especially important because they are termed ‘first responders’ – they patrol freely throughout the body to attack antigens and consume them.

Neutrophils interact positively with Natural Killer (NK) cells.

WBC macrophage

Macrophages

Macrophages are a type of permanently patrolling white blood cell. Its name in Greek means ‘big eater’ – and that’s what it does.


A macrophage can detect a site of infection, move to it and engulf and digest the pathogens – harmful microbes, foreign substances, cellular debris and cancer cells.

Macrophages also play an important part in wound healing and immune regulation.

Macrophages – like Neutrophils – are a key part of the first line of your immune defence.

A representation of a macrophage about to destroy a virus

WBC NK

Natural Killer Cells

Natural Killer Cells – also known as NK cells - are a type of white blood cell and a part of your innate immune system.


Natural Killer Cells – also known as NK cells - are a type of white blood cell and a part of your innate immune system.

They play a major part in the destruction of virally infected cells. They are also important in the detection and control of early signs of cancer and for their ability to kill tumour cells.

Natural Killer Cells also work synergistically with other immune cells like macrophages.

 


 

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