Standard values of B-lymphocytes
The values of the B-lymphocytes are usually determined in the large blood count. Here the number and type of immune cells is measured. However, no distinction is made between T and B lymphocytes, so the standard values apply to the sum of both types of lymphocytes. Normally between 1,500 and 4,000 lymphocytes are found per microlitre of blood. The total proportion of lymphocytes in all immune cells (leukocytes) normally fluctuates between 20% and 50%.
What can be the cause if the B-lymphocytes are elevated?
An increased number of lymphocytes is called lymphocytosis. This is usually diagnosed by means of a large blood count in which, among other things, the immune cells are counted and divided according to their different types. Normally, the blood count does not differentiate between B and T lymphocytes; this is only done if certain diseases are suspected.
Since lymphocytes are immune cells, an increase in lymphocytes can indicate a persistent or healing infection. Children in particular then quickly develop lymphocytosis, but it also occurs in adults. Triggering diseases can be viral infections (e.g.
measles) or bacterial infections (e.g. whooping cough). In addition, disease-specific symptoms usually occur. Lymphocytosis can also occur in some diseases that could be triggered by autoimmune factors (e.g. Crohn’s disease).
Here, too, accompanying symptoms typical for this disease are to be expected. In addition, excessive, degenerate growth of lymphocytes can also lead to an increase in these cells. This is the case with leukaemias (e.g. chronic lymphatic leukaemia/CLL) or lymphomas.
This type of cancer often causes fewer symptoms. If they do occur, they can be night sweats, weight loss, fever, enlarged lymph nodes, susceptibility to infections, shortness of breath or bleeding. You can find additional information under:
- What is determined by a blood count? – What infectious diseases are there? – How is leukaemia diagnosed?
What can be the cause if the B-lymphocytes are reduced?
A reduced number of lymphocytes is called lymphocytopenia. Lymphocytopenia is also determined by means of the large blood count. A reduced number of lymphocytes can occur in situations that overwhelm or damage the immune system.
These include, for example, simply stressful situations. When stress occurs, the stress hormone cortisol is released, which suppresses (suppresses) the immune system. Therapy with cortisone, the drug form of cortisol, can also lead to lymphocytopenia.
Therapies that inhibit cell division (chemotherapy, radiotherapy) can also have this effect. An infection with pathogens that damage the immune system can also reduce the number of lymphocytes. This includes, for example, the HI virus (human immunodeficiency virus).
An infection initially manifests itself with flu-like symptoms, but then often runs with few symptoms for a long time. In addition, certain types of cancer can lead to lymphocytopenia, especially those that affect the lymphatic system. These include non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. This form of cancer causes night sweats, weight loss, fever and swelling of the lymph nodes. – Side effects of cortisone
- Side effects of chemotherapy