Blood test

Normal neutrophil count in the blood

Blood test
Normal neutrophil count in the blood
Last update: 11/02/2021

What is the normal count of neutrophils in the blood?

The normal count of neutrophils in the blood is age-dependent:

Adults: 1.8 - 7 x 103/µl (microliter)
Children from 5 to 18 years old: 1.4 - 7.5 x 103/µl (microliter)
Children from 6 months old to 5 years old: 1.2 - 8.5 x 103/µl (microliter)
Babies from 2 to 6 months old: 1 - 7.2 x 103/µl (microliter)
Babies from 2 weeks old to 2 months old: 0.8 - 5.5 x 103/µl (microliter)
Newborns from 0 to 2 weeks old: 1.6 - 6.75 x 103/µl (microliter)

Why normal levels can differ across different labs?

Each laboratory must establish its own normal ranges for the neutrophil count in the blood. These ranges depend on the makeup of the local population, the technologies used and the accuracy of the measurement. There may be also slight differences in the normal levels, according to age, gender, race or ethnic origin, geographic region, diet, type of sample and other relevant status.

Your doctor will study the results along with your medical record, screenings, physical condition, symptoms and any other relevant information about your situation.

Some circumstances can alter the normal ranges:

  • Black people have a lower neutrophil count. They have a 10% to 20% less neutrophils in the blood than white people. The normal ranges for a black person is 1.2 to 6.6 x 103/µl (microliter).
  • The number of neutrophils in the blood may vary throughout the day (around a 10%) with a peak at noon. It may also vary throughout the month (around a 25%).

What is the role of neutrophils in the body?

Neutrophils are a type of WBC (White Blood Cells) or leukocytes. They are the most abundant type of WBCs in the blood. They play a crucial role in the immune defense against invading pathogens (bacteria, virus and fungi).

Neutrophils constitute the primary defense of the body against microbial invasion through the process of phagocytosis. Phagocytosis is a major mechanism used to remove pathogens by which certain living cells ingest or engulf other cells or particles. Neutrophils are the first immune cells to arrive at the site of the injury to kill and ingest invading pathogenic microorganisms.

Neutrophils can be found in the blood or in any other tissue suffering from an inflammation or infection. Only a small amount of the neutrophil of the body is present in the bloodstream.

There are two types of neutrophils

  • Segmented: They are mature neutrophils ready to fight against infection.
  • Stab or band: They are immature neutrophils that has not yet assumed the lobed shape of the mature cells. They can be released from the bone marrow in response to acute demand.

What is the neutrophil count used for?

The amount of neutrophil in the blood measures the ability of the body to fight against common infections. If the amount of neutrophils in the blood is low there is more risk to suffer an opportunist infection.

A neutrophil count above the normal range is common in bacterial infections, whereas a neutrophil count below is common in viral infections (viral hepatitis, measles, rubella, etc.) but every disease has a different pattern that should be studied.

A low neutrophil count in the blood is called neutropenia and may be a sign of:

  • A decreased production due to:
    • Congenital diseases: They are rare, but numerous such as cyclic neutropenia, Kostmann syndrome, Chediak–Higashi syndrome, etc.
    • Aplastic anemia
    • Chemotherapy or antithyroid drugs
  • Increased destruction or sequestration

Neutrophils are produced in the bone marrow. A high neutrophil count, called neutrophilia, correlates with an increase in their production to help in the immune defense of the body. Therefore, neutrophilia may be a sign of:

  • Acute infection
  • Inflammation
  • Blood cancer (chronic myeloid leukemia)
  • Tobacco, drugs (corticosteroids or glucorticoids) or physical stimuli (prolonged exercise, stress, trauma, burns, etc.)

Where can I find more information about neutrophil count in the blood?

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Which values are considered a normal neutrophil count in the blood?

The following values are considered to be normal values:

IMPORTANT: These levels are expressed in number of thousands/µl (microliter). They are an example of a healthy white woman of about 45 years old with no known disease and not taking any medication. The ranges can be different depending on the laboratory or on your personal circumstances.

1.8 x 103/µl1.9 x 103/µl2 x 103/µl2.1 x 103/µl2.2 x 103/µl2.3 x 103/µl2.4 x 103/µl2.5 x 103/µl
2.6 x 103/µl2.7 x 103/µl2.8 x 103/µl2.9 x 103/µl3 x 103/µl3.1 x 103/µl3.2 x 103/µl3.3 x 103/µl
3.4 x 103/µl3.5 x 103/µl3.6 x 103/µl3.7 x 103/µl3.8 x 103/µl3.9 x 103/µl4 x 103/µl4.1 x 103/µl
4.2 x 103/µl4.3 x 103/µl4.4 x 103/µl4.5 x 103/µl4.6 x 103/µl4.7 x 103/µl4.8 x 103/µl4.9 x 103/µl
5 x 103/µl5.1 x 103/µl5.2 x 103/µl5.3 x 103/µl5.4 x 103/µl5.5 x 103/µl5.6 x 103/µl5.7 x 103/µl
5.8 x 103/µl5.9 x 103/µl6 x 103/µl6.1 x 103/µl6.2 x 103/µl6.3 x 103/µl6.4 x 103/µl6.5 x 103/µl
6.6 x 103/µl6.7 x 103/µl6.8 x 103/µl6.9 x 103/µl7 x 103/µl   
Medically reviewed by our Medical staff on 11/02/2021


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