Medical Definition of Granulocyte

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Granulocyte: A type of white blood cell that is filled with microscopic granules, little sacs containing enzymes that digest microorganisms. Granulocytes are part of the innate immune system, and they have somewhat nonspecific, broad-based activity. They do not respond exclusively to specific antigens, as do B-cells and T-cells. Neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils are all types of granulocytes, and their names are derived from the staining features of their granules in the laboratory, a naming scheme that dates back to a time when certain structures could be identified in cells by histochemistry, but the functions of these intracellular structures were still not known.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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