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NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms

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NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms



polymorphonuclear leukocyte  listen  (PAH-lee-MOR-foh-NOO-klee-er LOO-koh-site)

  A type of immune cell that has granules (small particles) with enzymes that are released during infections, allergic reactions, and asthma. Neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils are polymorphonuclear leukocytes. A polymorphonuclear leukocyte is a type of white blood cell. Also called granular leukocyte, granulocyte, and PMN.

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Blood cell development; drawing shows the steps a blood stem cell goes through to become a red blood cell, platelet, or white blood cell. A myeloid stem cell becomes a red blood cell, a platelet, or a myeloblast, which then becomes a granulocyte (the types of granulocytes are eosinophils, basophils, and neutrophils). A lymphoid stem cell becomes a lymphoblast and then becomes a B-lymphocyte, T-lymphocyte, or natural killer cell.