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What are lymphocytes?

Lymphocytes are the smallest cells in the blood that have a defensive role. They produce antibodies and participate in the immune system in various ways. They are part of leukocytes and are formed in the bone marrow. In adults, lymphocytes make up 25-40 per cent of leukocytes.

Three primary groups do not differ morphologically but are only functional:

  • B-lymphocytes
  • T-lymphocytes are, in addition to B-lymphocytes, immune-acquired cells. They are activated upon contact with their antigen. They also perform a wide range of functions that include cellular immunity and regulation of the immune response.
  • NK cells, also known as natural killer cells, are a group of lymphocytes that play a role in the body’s defence against viruses and tumor cells.

Roles and fuctions of lymphocytes

As already mentioned, highly specialized cells that are the basis of specific immunity are T and B lymphocytes. In addition, b lymphocytes are the basis of humoral immunity, i.e. the production of specific antibodies – immunoglobulins.

The immune system protects our body from foreign proteins and microorganisms. Immune system also consists of cells and molecules that react to the danger of perception in a highly complex interplay.  

Absolute Lymphocyte Count (ALC) Formula

Normal lymphocyte counts are denoted as the absolute number of lymphocytes.

The alc can be calculated by multiplying the total number of white blood cells against the percentage of white blood cells. If the white blood cell count is 8000, and 20% of those white blood cells are lymphocytes, that means the alc would be 1600 (8000 x 0.2).

Types of Lymphocytes

B lymphocytes produce antibodies. More precisely, b lymphocytes specialized proteins that bind to parts of the proteins of microorganisms and cells that need to be removed from the body. After the initial immune reaction, antibodies are not lost but remain permanently stored in the body in a certain amount. For this reason, the organism is ready to react faster and more efficiently to the same molecule in the future. This is the principle according to which vaccination successfully stimulates the immune response to certain microorganisms.

B lymphocytes make up 10 to 20% of lymphocytes in the blood.

If B cells mark foreign proteins and cells that need to be destroyed, they cannot eliminate them independently without using other immune cells, such as T cells.

T cells destroy such labelled cells, signal to other immune cells that they are needed response, and keep the immune reaction under control. CD4 is found on the surface of immune cells such as T helper cells, monocytes, macrophages, and dendritic cells.

T lymphocytes make up 60 to 80% of lymphocytes in the blood.

Blood immunophenotyping is a test that determines the proportions of different subtypes of T cells in the blood, such as CD4 + and CD8 + lymphocytes. It is crucial for diagnosing and monitoring certain hematological and immune system disorders.

NK cells or killer cells are subtypes of lymphocytes that respond quickly to danger by directly destroying tumor-altered or virus-occupied cells.

NK cells make up 5 to 10% of lymphocytes.

Normal ranges lymphocyte and levels

  • Lymphocytosis is an elevated level of lymphocytes. In children older than 12 years, lymphocytosis is defined by the absolute number of lymphocytes higher than 4 x 109 / L and higher than 8 x 109 / L in infants.
  • Lymphopenia (lymphocytopenia) is a decreased level of lymphocytes. In older children, lymphopenia is defined by the absolute number of lymphocytes lower than 1.5 x 109 / L and lower than 4.5 x 109 / L in infants.

Lymphopenia may indicate the existence of certain diseases and require additional diagnostic processing and medical assistance.

Leukocytosis is decreased or elevated levels of lymphocytes in the blood picture that cause elevated or decreased leukocytes.

Absolute lymphocyte count (ALC) high

High lymphocyte levels are usually diagnosed after tests prescribed by medical staff to diagnose the condition you are facing. However, often lymphocytosis is detected quite an by accident.

High lymphocyte levels and the results of other tests usually already indicate the cause of the disease, but sometimes your doctor may suggest other tests to assess your condition.

Lymphocyte levels above 40% are abnormally high. Some of the leading causes are flu and chickenpox. Other causes include tuberculosis, whooping cough, herpes, rubella and some less common diseases.

  • Infectious mononucleosis, roseola infantum and influenza (influenza) are viral infections that often include elevated lymphocyte levels. Infectious mononucleosis is typically elevated lymphocytes, called atypical or reactive lymphocytes. Under the microscope, they differ in their structure from normal lymphocytes, and we call this polymorphism.
  • Whooping cough is one of the few bacterial infections in which lymphocytosis occurs.
  • Severe allergic reactions and haematological diseases (e.g. acute and chronic lymphocytic leukemia) are less common causes of elevated lymphocyte levels.

Certain medications can also lead to large amounts of lymphocytes. In addition, too many lymphocytes can appear after a blood transfusion.

What is a normal total lymphocyte count?

Blood lymphocyte count is one of the routine parameters in laboratory findings. Their normal values for men and women are between

1.5 and 3 ×10³ cells/μL

Decreased lymphocyte counts in the blood are called lymphocytopenia and elevated lymphocytosis.

What formula does the absolute lymphocyte count (ALC) calculator use?

When the absolute number of lymphocytes is greater than 4 × 109 cells / L, absolute lymphocytosis exist. The absolute number of lymphocytes can be calculated from the following:

ALC = total leukocyte count ×% of lymphocytes

Relative lymphocytosis > 50% with a normal alc is more common than absolute lymphocytosis. Although relative lymphocytosis is quite common in patients with granulocytopenia (leukocyte count <3 × 109 / L), the term “relative lymphocytosis” should not be used in patients with low leukocyte counts. Since patients with granulocytopenia typically have absolute neutropenia, this term is more appropriate and processing should focus on revealing the cause of absolute neutropenia.


Lymphocyte reference values: 20 – 45%

Increased lymphocytosis includes viral infections (Epstein Barr virus, cytomegalovirus, rubella), toxoplasmosis, brucellosis.

Decreased lymphocytes include (lymphopenia): bone marrow infiltration, AIDS, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

AIDS is a deadly, incurable, sexually transmitted disease, and it is also transmitted through blood and from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. This disease is the final and most severe stage of HIV infection caused by severe damage to the immune system. It should be noted that a person infected with HIV does not have to have AIDS. The diagnosis of AIDS is based on the number of CD4 + lymphocytes and the presence of opportunistic infections and malignant diseases that occur during HIV infection.


How do you calculate absolute lymphocyte count (ALC)?

It can be calculated by multiplying the total number of wbc against the percentage of wbc, which are lymphocytes

What is the normal range for absolute lymphocyte count (ALC)?.

The normal count is between 1,000 and 4,800 lymphocytes per microliter of blood for adults. For children, it’s between 3,000 and 9,500 lymphocytes per microliter of blood.

What is absolute lymphocyte count high (ALC)?

High lymphocyte count is an increase in wbc called lymphocytes.

How do you calculate CD4 count from absolute lymphocyte count (ALC)?

We can count it by multiplying the absolute lymphocyte count by a baseline CD4 per cent.

How can I lower my lymphocyte count?

To regulate the number of WBC in the body in any way, it is first necessary to perform examinations and analyses to determine their value at all.
If the cause is inflammation, your doctor will prescribe anti-inflammatory medication. If a bacterial infection causes them, antibiotics will help.
You can also increase the input of vitamin C, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and avoid foods rich in sugar, fats and salt. It is essential to take care of your health.

What are the sympthoms of low lymphocytes?

– Fever.
– Runny nose.
– Painful joints.
– Cough.
– Skin rash.
– Enlarged lymph nodes.
– Night sweats.