Lymphocytes: Types and Roles

Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cells – or white blood cells – which act in the defense of our body against micro-organisms potentially dangerous to our health, as the cells of the chicken pox or tumors. There are 3 types of lymphocytes, and realize the function of each one, understand how it works the body.

The 3 types of lymphocytes are the cells that make the recognition of strange organisms (such as bacteria, viruses, and other toxins), starting the process of activation of the immune system.

The surveillance immune consists in the recognition and destruction of abnormal cells. When our body detects the presence of abnormal cells, recognized as foreign because they have antigens on the surface different from those of normal cells, triggers a response at the level of the immune system to be able to delete them.

The protection of the organism against these cells is done directly by the t lymphocytes.

The reference values of lymphocytes are 1,00 – 3,20 (10^9/L), that is, between 1000 and 3200 per cubic millimeter of blood.

Lymphocytes Types and Roles 1


Each lymphocyte produces a single immunoglobulin (antibody), different from that of other lymphocytes. When a lymphocyte recognizes an antigen (molecule-invasive which will bind to the antibody), is activated and enters the divide accelerated.

Each “daughter cell” will be specific for the same antigen recognized by the “cell mother”. After activation, initiate immune response, and others are booking as immune memory.

There are 3 types of lymphocytes:


From bone marrow, represent about represent 5% to 10% of lymphocytes. When activated, differentiate into plasma cells that produce antibodies, thus helping in the defense of the organism.

The B-lymphocytes also differentiate into memory cells and, therefore, are the cells that most rapidly respond to a repeated exposure to the same antigen (in cases of chickenpox or measles, for example).


Are about 65 % to 75% of the lymphocytes. These cells act on cells and strange infected by viruses, direct the immune response and keep the immune response under control (prevent the development of autoimmune diseases, causing the white blood cells do not fight the cells of the organism itself).

Lymphocytes Types and Roles 2


They represent approximately 10% to 15% of the total population of circulating lymphocytes. As the name indicates, natural killers, these cells are already naturally prepared to kill the cells that may be harmful to our body, whether they be cancer cells or microorganisms invaders, such as viruses. Unlike what happens with other types of lymphocytes, B and T, which need a process of early maturation.

Thus, target cells, neoplastic (tumor) and protect against a wide variety of microorganisms infectious.


The production of antibodies gives if in the lymph nodes, which are hipertrofiados due to the multiplication of lymphocytes activated. The antibodies formed are released into the blood or lymph circulating to the place of the infection.

Not all of the B lymphocyte stimulated to differentiate into plasma cells. Many constitute memory cells, cells with a period of life very extended that are inactive, but ready to respond quickly if the antigen may reappear in the body.


Lymphocytes Types and Roles 2

  • Each antibody is able to combine chemically with the antigen that stimulated the production of this antibody.
  • The specificity is related with the chemical structures of the antigen and the antibody.
  • In relation to the structure of an antibody, we can say that antibodies belong to a type of protein that has a structure globular, being also referred to as immunoglobulins. Are represented conventionally in the form of a Y.