What is immature granulocytes in a blood test?

Granulocytes are a subgroup of granular white blood cells, which include neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils. Their norm is 50-80% of all white blood cells, in quantitative terms - 2-7X10⁹ per liter. Under a microscope, one can see granules or granules in them, hence the name. Granulocytes are produced in the bone marrow, have a short life after tissue release - up to three days.

Each type of granulocyte has its own functions. Most of them are neutrophils, which are responsible for cellular immunity. They are given the main role in protecting a person from various infections. They are phagocytes, that is, they capture bacteria that have penetrated into the body, tissue fragments and other particles to be removed, absorb them and digest. After the process of phagocytosis, the neutrophilic granulocytes die and constitute the bulk of the pus that is formed.

They are divided into mature( or segmented), not fully mature( or stab) and immature granulocytes( or juveniles).The life of the stab form in the blood does not last long, and almost immediately they become mature: the nucleus divides into segments, and they turn into segmented nuclei. In the analysis of blood neutrophils stand in order( from left to right): young, stab and segmented. The increase happens with a shift to the right or to the left.

There is practically no young granulocyte in the blood, although the exception is the presence of immature forms in newborn infants and during pregnancy. By the presence in the blood of immature granulocytes, the development of pathology is judged. If there are young neutrophils in an amount exceeding the norm, this may indicate an inflammatory process or an infection. In connection with this, early diagnosis of infectious diseases and sepsis is possible.

Norm of neutrophils

Because unripe granulocytes live in the blood for a short time and mature quickly, their number is small. The norm of stab neutrophils for adults is 1-5%, the norm of segmented neutrophils is from 45 to 65% of the total number of all leukocytes.

Neutrophils in the blood of a child are less than in adults. Until a year there are immature granulocytes. The norms for children are as follows:

  • up to a year: mature - 15-30%, immature - up to 4%;
  • from 1 to 6 years: mature - 25-60%, immature - up to 5%;
  • from 7 to 12 years: mature - 35-65%, immature - up to 5%;
  • from 13 to 15 years: mature - 40-65%, immature - up to 6%;
  • from 15 years: mature - 45-70%, immature 1-5%.

Causes of increasing young granulocytes

If neutrophils are increased, a shift to the left is usually observed in the leukocyte formula. That is, in the blood there are immature and stab granulocytes. This indicates the development of the pathological process in the body. That is why the body begins to produce neutrophils in large quantities to protect against infection. Hence a large percentage of young forms. The reasons for the increase in the number of immature neutrophils are numerous. An increase in their level may be physiological:

  • in newborns;
  • during pregnancy;
  • under stress;
  • after eating;
  • with physical activity.
Analysis of blood in a baby
Increased level of immature granulocytes is the physiological norm for newborns

. The increase in the level of young granulocytes is observed in the following pathologies:

  • pneumonia, peritonitis, osteomyelitis, appendicitis, meningitis, pyelonephritis, cholera, sepsis, angina, thrombophlebitis, cholecystitis, scarlet fever, otitis;
  • purulent processes: abscesses and phlegmon;
  • typhoid abdominal, tuberculosis, hepatitis, malaria, measles, flu, rubella;
  • chronic skin diseases: psoriasis, certain types of dermatitis;
  • acute bleeding;
  • burns;
  • intoxications: for lead poisoning, insect bites, for foreign protein, for diabetic acidosis, uremia, Cushing's syndrome, etc.;
  • malignant diseases;
  • systemic diseases;
  • gout;
  • myocardial infarction, lung infarction;
  • gangrene;
  • myeloplastic diseases of chronic form;
  • serum sickness;
  • after taking some drugs: androgens, lithium preparations, glucocorticosteroids.

A particularly sharp shift to the left in the leukocyte formula is observed with myelomonocytic leukemia, as well as in purulent processes. The number of stab and unripe forms sharply increases. Neutrophil granulocytes can have changes not only quantitative, but also qualitative character, especially at the expressed intoxications and heavy purulent-inflammatory processes. With strokes, burns, heart attacks and trophic ulcers, the increase in neutrophils is less frequent.

Elevated temperature in the child
In ARI, granulocytes

often increase in blood. The causes of the increase in immature forms of neutrophils in children are most often the following:

  • otitis media, tonsillitis, pneumonia and other acute infections;
  • purulent processes;
  • acidosis;
  • leukemia;
  • hemolytic anemia;
  • trophic ulcers;
  • burns of III and IV degree.

Analysis for granulocytes

See article: Leukocytes in a blood smear
Increased number of white blood cells in the blood

A blood test for granulocytes is performed in many diseases and suspected of various pathologies. The presence of immature forms indicates most often of the disease. Usually, a neutrophil test is performed during a general blood test marked "detailed analysis", which is given on an empty stomach in the morning. Blood is taken from the finger. On the eve of recommended to abandon alcoholic beverages, fatty and fried foods. Since the last meal, at least eight hours must pass. The day before do not recommend doing sports and hard physical work. It is necessary to refrain from taking medications that can distort the result. If this is not possible, inform the treating physician. In emergency cases, they can take blood at any time of the day from the vein.

Modern analyzers allow counting the number of immature granulocytes with a high degree of accuracy. Automatic counting greatly reduces the time of analysis and the delivery of the finished result.


The decipherment of the leukocyte formula has an important diagnostic value. Inflammatory and purulent processes are particularly affected by immature and stab neutrophil granulocytes. At the same time, their growth occurs, as evidenced by a shift to the left of the leukocyte formula. Detection in the blood of young forms makes it possible for early diagnosis.