Cytoplasm In White Blood Cell: 9 Facts You Should Know


Cytoplasm is the semifluid substance that remains enclosed by plasma membrane and holds the cell organelles within it. Let us know about cytoplasm in white blood cells.

Cytoplasm in white blood cell is a very crucial element that holds all the cellular components such as nucleus, mitochondria, lysosome, vesicles, etc in their position and gives the cell a proper shape. It is present inside the cell membrane and outside the nucleus of white blood cells. 

Cytoplasm of white blood cells is colourless because it does not contain any pigment like haemoglobin (present in Red blood cells). When doing the histological studies of white blood cells due to applying stains, cytoplasm gets pigmented (pinkish).

Let us focus on if white blood cells have cytoplasm or not and also some related facts about it.

Do white blood cells have a cytoplasm?

WBC is one of the important components of the blood stream mainly related to the immune defense mechanism of the body. Let us see if it has cytoplasm.

White blood cells have a large amount of cytoplasm in its structure. The cytoplasm of white blood cells holds all the other components including the nucleus of the cell (which mainly differs the WBC from RBC). It plays a significant role in distinguishing between several types of WBC.

Where is cytoplasm located in white blood cell?

Now we know that cytoplasm is present in WBC. Let us see where precisely cytoplasm is located in white blood cells.

Cytoplasm is located inside the plasma membrane and outside the nuclear membrane of white blood cells. It means that, cytoplasm is the interior part of a cell, and it remains surrounded by the nucleus  and other cell organelles of white blood cells.

Function of cytoplasm in white blood cell?

Cytoplasm helps WBC in their functioning in many ways. Let us see the main functions of cytoplasm in white blood cells.

Listed below are some significant roles cytoplasm play in white blood cells:

  • Stores all other cell components
  • Gives the cell a proper shape
  • Serves as a site for metabolic activities
  • Plays important role in signal transduction
  • Plays important role in distinguishing between several types of WBC

Let us have a closer look at the functions of cytoplasm in white blood cells-

Stores all other cell components

Surrounded by the cell membrane of white blood cells, cytoplasm embeds all other cell components including nucleus, cell organnelle (mitochondria, lysosome, vesicles, etc) and cytoplasmic inclusions within it. 

Gives the cell a proper shape

Cytoplasm is responsible for the shape of a cell. Hence, it give white blood cells a proper shape and structure. Without cytoplasm, cells fail to survive.

Serves as a site of metabolic activities

Cytoplasm serves as a primary site for any cellular activities. It provides the cell a medium where most of the metabolic activities can take place.

Plays important role in signal transduction

As cytoplasm is the component responsible for holding all cell organelle’s position, it plays a significant role in signal transduction mechanism as well.

Plays important role in distinguishing between several types of WBC

Cytoplasm plays an important role in distinguishing and differentiating several type of white blood cells. According to the type of cytoplasm present, white blood cells are categorized into two types -granulocytes (eosinophil, besophil and neutrophil) and agranulocytes (lymphocytes and monocytes). 

Cytoplasm in white blood cell
Cytoplasm in white blood cell (monocytes) from Wikimedia commons

Do white blood cells contain granular cytoplasm?

Granular cytoplasm can be determined in histological study by the appearance of dark stained granules embedded within it. Let us see if it is present in WBC.

White blood cell contains granular cytoplasm in its structure. Granular cytoplasm in WBC is a cell cytoplasm consisting of several small spot like granules within it, nesserary for the immune response of those cells.

Which white blood cells contain granular cytoplasm?

Of the five types of white blood cells, three of them have granular cytoplasm in it. Let us know what they are.

Among the five white blood cells, Neutrophil, Besophil and Eosinophil contains granular cytoplasm within their cellular structure. Three of them containing granular cytoplasm is also known as granulocytes. About 65% of white blood cells are this type.

Granulocytes also have two to five lobes in their nucleus, hence known as polymorphonuclear leukocytes.

Cytoplasm in white blood cell
Granular cytoplasm in white blood cell (Neutrophil) from Wikimedia commons

Why do white blood cells contain granular cytoplasm?

As has already been mentioned, WBC has granular cytoplasm. Let us now understand why it has granular cytoplasm in their structure.

White blood cells contain granular cytoplasm because the granules are a type of sack comprising digentive components that facilitates the immune response of white blood cells in the body.

Functions of granular cytoplasm

The main function of granular cytoplasm is to support the immune response of granulocytes. Let us see its function in details.

Granular cytoplasm contains acid hydrolases that facilitate the immune response. Granular cytoplasm embeds defensins, lysozymes, low pH vesicles that also take active part in defence machanism of granulocytes. 

Does cytoplasm of white blood cells contain haemoglobin?

We have seen different components that are present in WBC. Let us know if cytoplasm of white blood cell contains haemoglobin or not.

Unlike the cytoplasm of red blood cells (RBC), cytoplasm of white blood cells does not contain haemoglobin in its structure. Cytoplasm of WBC does not contain any type of pigmentation factor in its structure. That is why it is colourless in its appearance. 

Does a white blood cell have a vacuole?

Just like other eukaryotic cells, white blood cells contain different cell organelles within it. Let us see if they have vacuole or not.

All white blood cells have vacuoles in their cytoplasm. The number and size of vacuoles in different types of white blood cells may vary slightly.

Conclusion

As a whole we can say that cytoplasm in white blood cells play a singnificant role in the functioning of cells. Here, we have discussed the functions and types of cytoplasm in white blood cells. Hope this article on cytoplasm in white blood cells is helpful to you.

Piyali Das

Hello, I am Piyali Das, pursuing my Post Graduation in Zoology from Calcutta University. I am very passionate on Academic Article writing. My aim is to explain complex things in simple way through my writings for the readers. We can connect through LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/piyali-das-484019216 .

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