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Any of several types of blood cells that help defend the body from infection. The different mature formsgranulocytes, including neutrophils (heterophils), basophils, and eosinophils; monocytes, including macrophages; and lymphocyteshave different functions, including ingesting bacteria, protozoans, or infected or dead body cells; producing antibodies; and regulating the action of other leukocytes. They act mostly in the tissues and are in the bloodstream only for transport. Blood normally contains 5,000–10,000 leukocytes per cu mm.
Variants of LEUKOCYTE
leukocyte or white blood cell or white corpuscle
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on leukocyte, visit Britannica.com.