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Pronunciation: nu'tro-fil, -fil


  1. A mature white blood cell in the granulocytic series, formed by myelopoietic tissue of the bone marrow (sometimes also in extramedullary sites), and released into the circulating blood, where they normally represent 54–65% of the total number of leukocytes. When stained with the usual Romanowsky-type dyes neutrophils are characterized by a nucleus dark purple-blue nucleus, lobated (three to five distinct lobes joined by thin strands of chromatin), with a rather coarse network of fairly dense chromatin; and a cytoplasm that is faintly pink (sharply contrasted with the nucleus) that contains numerous fine pink or violet-pink granules, not acidophilic or basophilic (as in eosinophils or basophils). The precursors of neutrophils, in order of increasing maturity, are: myeloblasts, promyelocytes, myelocytes, metamyelocytes, and band forms. Although the terms neutrophilic leukocytes and neutrophilic granulocytes include younger cells in which neutrophilic granules are recognized, the two expressions are frequently used as synonyms for neutrophils, which are mature forms unless otherwise indicated by a modifying term, such as immature neutrophil.
  2. Any cell or tissue that manifests no special affinity for acid or basic dyes, the cytoplasm stains approximately equally with either type of dye.

[neutro- + G. philos, fond]

See Also: leukocyte, leukocytosis

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