What are monocytes responsible for and what is the norm in the blood in adults and children

Wise nature has provided the human body with a powerful weapon against adverse external influences and internal “enemies” with immune protection. The basis of its blood cells are leukocytes. This name unites a number of cells that have different functions – from recognizing pathological and foreign elements to their destruction.

One of the types of leukocytes are monocytes in the blood. What is it and what is their function in the body?

Life cycle of monocytes

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Monocytes are formed in the red bone marrow. They enter the peripheral blood (general circulatory system) in the form of young immature cells. These are the precursors of macrophages – cells that can be conventionally called cleaners.

They do not stay in the blood for long. Reaching the lymph nodes, spleen, alveoli and liver, part of the cells (75%) are deposited in these organs for final maturation. Further, macrophages are formed from them.

The remaining quarter of young monocytes remain in the circulating blood. Their stay in the blood is from 36 to 104 hours. In tissues, macrophages live for at least 21 days.

A monocyte macrophage is a large cell that moves slowly through the bloodstream. Due to their size, they are able to capture and destroy even large “garbage” toxic waste products of viruses and bacteria, dead, damaged and parasitized cells.

Surrounding the site of inflammation, monocytes-macrophages are able to multiply by division. They can also migrate to the site of inflammation in the tissues and are always present in the focus of the chronic process.

Functions of monocytes

The main function of monocytes is phagocytosis (capture and digestion of solid particles):

  • They resist microbial infection,
  • Participate in the body’s immune response,
  • Fight tumor cells
  • Dissolve thrombotic masses,
  • They destroy old, obsolete and dead blood cells.

shema protsessa fagotsitoza - 19

The scheme of the phagocytosis process: phagocyte-monocyte (3) meets with a microorganism (1-2), surrounds it with its cell mass (5), completes the environment and digests (6)

In addition to destroying cells unnecessary for the body, monocytes are responsible for preparing damaged tissues for regeneration, and also participate in the regulation of the process of hematopoiesis. Unlike neutrophils (leukocyte microphage cells), monocytes are more focused on viruses. In the places of dislocation of monocytes-macrophages, there is never a purulent process.

Norms of monocytes in the blood

How many monocytes should be in the blood of a healthy person? They are indicated in absolute and relative terms. The leukocyte formula includes 5 types of cells, including monocytes.

The relative content is calculated as a percentage of the total number of leukocytes. The absolute value shows their number per unit volume of blood. Monocytes are designated MON, MONO, or MO on the test result sheet.

The single norm for adults (for men and women) is, in relative terms, 3-11%.

In children, the normal values ​​of monocytes in the blood test change depending on age:

Age of childRelative amount (%)Absolute value (units x 10 9/l)
First week3 – 120,19-2,4
Two weeks of age5 – 150,18-1,85
Until the end of the first year4 – 100,18-1,85
Before 2 years3 – 100,15-1,75
From 2 3 years up3 – 90,15-1,75
From 3 7 years up3 – 90,12-1,5
From 7 10 years up3 – 90,1-1,25
From 10 16 years up3 – 90,09-1,15
17 and older for men and women3-110,09-0,6

These norms are the same for boys and girls. After 16 years, the normal number of monocytes is equal to that for adults. It does not change with age.

What do deviations from the norm mean?

An increase in the number of monocytes in the blood (monocytosis) or a decrease in it (monocytopenia) indicate a pathology or deviation from the norm in the state of the body.

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When monocytes are elevated

Increased rates are observed in the following cases:

  • Acute or chronic infectious, viral or inflammatory diseases,
  • 2 45 - 21The recovery period after an infection,
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Malignant blood diseases (leukemia, in particular acute monocytic),
  • Tumor processes (oncological diseases),
  • Fungal infections,
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Endocarditis,
  • Sepsis,
  • Phosphorus poisoning.

Monocytosis is usually accompanied by an increase in lymphocyte count. These cells are also from the leukocyte group. Figuratively speaking, they show the work front for monocytes.

If the monazites are constantly increased in the analyzes, this may indicate a long-term parasitic invasion. Prolonged monocytosis after angina is a diagnostic marker indicating the development of rheumatism.

The reason for the increase in the level of monocytes in viral and inflammatory diseases is clear and is interpreted as a favorable factor. An increase in the number of defense cells means that the immune system is doing its job.

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Monocytes under a microscope

When monocytes are low

In some diseases and pathologies, the level of monocytes can be lowered:

  • Anemia (aplastic or associated with a deficiency of vitamins B9 and B12),
  • Radiation sickness,
  • Furunculosis,
  • Pancytopenia a general decrease in the number of circulating blood cells (erythrocytes, platelets, leukocytes),
  • Typhoid fever
  • Poisoning by chemicals.

Monocytes can be lowered under the following conditions:

  • With very severe exhaustion,
  • In the postpartum period,
  • During abdominal surgery,
  • In a state of shock, as a result of severe stress,
  • After a long course of treatment with hormonal drugs.

The complete absence of monocytes in the blood means serious health problems. Possible tumor damage to the bone marrow, where the formation of blood cells occurs. Reduced maintenance requires further examination to establish the cause of the deviation from the norm.

Monocytes during pregnancy

In pregnant women, it is possible to increase and decrease the level of monocytes. Monocytosis means the presence in the body of a pregnant woman of any infection – mononucleosis, herpes virus, influenza or ARVI. If monocytes are increased during pregnancy, you should definitely inform your obstetrician-gynecologist about this.

He will choose the most safe treatment tactics for the unborn child.

3 40 - 25During the first months of pregnancy, monocytosis is considered normal due to an overall increase in white blood cell counts. Monocytes perform a protective function to a greater extent, helping the mother’s body to maintain a healthy fetus. They increase the release into the blood of special anti-inflammatory substances – cytokines, which affect the general defenses of the immune system.

A drop in the number of monocytes indicates the following:

  • Unbalanced or poor nutrition of a pregnant woman,
  • Lack of vitamins
  • Exhaustion of the body
  • Anemia.

In this case, you need to revise the diet and include more fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy products in the pregnant woman’s diet.

Deviations from the norm in children

The main reasons for the decrease in monocytes in children are the same as in adults. Increased cell death occurs in severe infectious and parasitic lesions. The worst cause of monocytopenia in children is blood cancer.

To diagnose the disease that caused deviations from the norm, a general blood test is performed and a detailed decoding of the leukocyte formula is done. It indicates the presence of a relative and absolute decrease in monocytes. The non-coincidence of indicators (multidirectional decrease) indicates a serious condition of the child.

In this case, a thorough examination and an urgent start of treatment are required.

Within the leukocyte formula, the following picture can be observed – the relative indicator of monocytes is increased while the number of lymphocytes decreases. What does it mean?

Such changes occur for the following reasons:

  • Lack of protein in the child’s diet,
  • Decrease in the hematopoietic function of the bone marrow, in which monocytes are formed,
  • Irradiation,
  • Suppression of hematopoietic function by taking certain medications,
  • The presence of viruses in the body – HIV, poliomyelitis, measles, chickenpox,
  • Increased levels of hormones produced by the adrenal glands.

tablitsa normy u detej monotsitov i drugih lejkotsitov po vozrastu - 27

Table of norms in children of monocytes and other leukocytes by age

Further diagnostics is carried out using a detailed study of all indicators of a clinical blood test.

How to normalize monocyte levels?

How to lower the number of monocytes? If they increase in order to resist infection with minor diseases or infections (for example, fungal), there is no need to reduce their level. He will bounce back on his own.

Another thing is serious diseases accompanied by pathological monocytosis, such as cancer or leukemia. In this case, treatment will be directed at the disease itself. In any case, an increase in monocytes against a background of seemingly complete well-being should be a serious reason for contacting a doctor. You cannot cope with such problems on your own.

An increase in the level of monocytes may be the first signal of an incipient malignant blood disease.

The decrease in monocytes is the SOS signal from the body. They also need to be restored only with the help of a doctor. And here the therapy will be directed at the underlying disease. There is no single treatment tactic, since the reasons for the decline are individual. A special high-protein diet is mandatory.

It is based on the following principles:

  • High protein content (plant or animal – the doctor will recommend),
  • 4 31 - 29Limiting salt and simple carbohydrates (sweet foods)
  • Balanced content of fats and carbohydrates,
  • Complete elimination of sugar,
  • Consuming an increased amount of foods containing potassium, calcium and vitamins A, C, B, E, PP and D,
  • Restriction of drinking.

Products should be heat treated with gentleness.

When should a monocyte test be done?

A general blood test does not always involve the study of a detailed leukocyte formula.

An analysis for monocytes should be taken if the following diseases are suspected:

  • Autoimmune (lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis),
  • Anemia,
  • Parasitic invasions (brucellosis),
  • Leukemia
  • Colitis,
  • Malignant tumor.

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Analysis for monocytes is the norm in women

Monocytes are also looked at for viral and bacterial infections. How do I prepare for the analysis? Blood is taken from a finger in the morning on an empty stomach. Do not drink or smoke before surrender, this can distort the result. The assessment is carried out on the basis of the total ratio of all cells, the levels of erythrocytes and platelets are also considered indicative.

If a doctor prescribes a blood test for monocytes, this should not be neglected. Otherwise, you can skip the onset of serious illness.

Tatyana Jakowenko

Editor-in-chief of the Detonic online magazine, cardiologist Yakovenko-Plahotnaya Tatyana. Author of more than 950 scientific articles, including in foreign medical journals. He has been working as a cardiologist in a clinical hospital for over 12 years. He owns modern methods of diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases and implements them in his professional activities. For example, it uses methods of resuscitation of the heart, decoding of ECG, functional tests, cyclic ergometry and knows echocardiography very well.

For 10 years, she has been an active participant in numerous medical symposia and workshops for doctors - families, therapists and cardiologists. He has many publications on a healthy lifestyle, diagnosis and treatment of heart and vascular diseases.

He regularly monitors new publications of European and American cardiology journals, writes scientific articles, prepares reports at scientific conferences and participates in European cardiology congresses.