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Leukocytes of Immune System
Leukocytes, or white blood cells, are the cells of the immune system that function in defending and protecting our body cells from pathogen invasion. They arise from stem cells in the bone marrow called hematopoietic stem cells. Leukocytes are amoeboid-like cells that can move independently of other cells and structures in the body and can move against the flow of blood and lymph. They can squeeze their way through the cracks and slits of capillary walls in a process called diapedesis. There are three main categories of leukocytes - granulocytes, agranulocytes and megakaryocytes. Megakaryotytes give rise to platelets (thrombocytes). Granulocytes come in three different forms - neutrophils, eosinophils and basophils. Agranulocytes can be further divided into lymphocytes and monocytes. Monocytes give rise to macrophages while lymphocytes give rise to natural killer cells, B lymphocytes and T lymphocytes. B lymphocytes differentiate into plasma cells and memory cells while T lymphocytes give rise to killer T cells, helper T cells, memory T cells and suppressor cells.
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