A type of white blood cell filled with microscopic granules that are little sacs containing enzymes, compounds that digest microorganisms. Granulocytes are part of the innate immune system and 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. They are named by the staining features of their granules in the laboratory: Neutrophils have "neutral" subtle granules; Eosinophils have prominent granules that stain readily with the acid dye eosin; and Basophils have prominent granules that stain readily basic (non acidic) dyes. This classification 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 yet fathomed. However, the classification of granulocytes into neutrophils, eosinophils and basophils is still widely used (and quite useful).
* * *
A mature granular leukocyte, including neutrophilic, acidophilic, and basophilic types of polymorphonuclear leukocytes, i.e., respectively, neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils. [granulo- + G. kytos, cell]
- immature g. an immature neutrophil; it may be neutrophilic, acidophilic, or basophilic in character.

* * *

gran·u·lo·cyte 'gran-yə-lō-.sīt n a polymorphonuclear white blood cell (as a basophil, eosinophil, or neutrophil) with granule-containing cytoplasm compare AGRANULOCYTE
gran·u·lo·cyt·ic .gran-yə-lō-'sit-ik adj

* * *

any of a group of white blood cells that, when stained with Romanowsky stains, are seen to contain granules in their cytoplasm. They can be subclassified on the basis of the colour of the stained granules into neutrophil, eosinophil, and basophil.

* * *

gran·u·lo·cyte (granґu-lo-sīt″) [granulo- + -cyte] 1. any cell containing granules. 2. granular leukocyte.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • granulocyte — [ granylɔsit ] n. m. • mil. XXe; de granule et cyte ♦ Biol. Leucocyte présentant des granulations spécifiques. ⇒ polynucléaire. La classe des granulocytes comprend les neutrophiles, les basophiles et les éosinophiles. ● granulocyte nom masculin… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Granulocyte — éosinophile Granulocyte basophile Les granulocytes (appelés autrefois « polynucléaires » parce que certains d entre eux – les granulocytes neutrophiles – semblaient posséder plusieurs noyaux), sont des globules blancs qualifiés de… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • granulocyte — [gran′yo͞olō sīt΄, gran′yəlō sīt΄] n. [ GRANUL(E) + O + CYTE] any of several types of white blood cells with a granular cytoplasm granulocytic [gran′yo͞olōsit′ik gran′yə lōsit′ik] adj …   English World dictionary

  • Granulocyte — Granulocytes are a category of white blood cells characterised by the presence of granules in their cytoplasm. [eMedicineDictionary|granulocyte] They are also called polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN or PML) because of the varying shapes of the… …   Wikipedia

  • granulocyte — noun Etymology: International Scientific Vocabulary Date: 1906 a polymorphonuclear white blood cell with granule containing cytoplasm • granulocytic adjective …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • granulocyte — leucocytes or white blood cells that fight infection, distinguished by deeply staining granular material in the cytoplasm. In fish called acidophils, basiphils, eosinophils and neutrophils …   Dictionary of ichthyology

  • granulocyte — n. [L. dim. granum, grain; Gr. kytos, container] A hemocyte variable in size and shape, granular contents of sulfated, periodate reactive sialomucin and other glycoproteins or neutral mucopolysaccharides, and sometimes lipid droplets may be… …   Dictionary of invertebrate zoology

  • granulocyte — Leucocyte with conspicuous cytoplasmic granules. In humans the granulocytes are also classified as polymorphonuclear leucocytes and are subdivided according to the staining properties of the granules into eosinophils, basophils and neutrophils… …   Dictionary of molecular biology

  • granulocyte — granulocytic /gran yeuh loh sit ik/, adj. /gran yeuh loh suyt /, n. Cell Biol. a circulating white blood cell having prominent granules in the cytoplasm and a nucleus of two or more lobes. Also called polymorph. [1905 10; GRANULE + O + CYTE] * *… …   Universalium

  • granulocyte — noun Any of various blood cells that have granules in their cytoplasm. Syn: multinuclear leukocyte …   Wiktionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”