Agranulocytes, including monocytes, are distinguished from the other category of leucocytes - which are called granulocytes, because agranulocytes do not contain chemical-filled cytoplasmic vesicles called "granules".
- 3-8% of all white blood cells are monocytes.
- Monocytes are typically 12-20 um in diameter.
- They have kidney-shaped nuclei and blue-grey cytoplasm which looks somewhat "foamy".
An important function of monocytes is combating microbes by the process of phagocytosis (after transforming into fixed or wandering macrophages).
Phagocytosis is the engulfment and digestion of bacteria and other antigens by phagocytes, as shown:
For more information about other components (sometimes called the 'constituents') of blood, see the page about the structure and functions of blood. This may interest students of holistic massage, reflexology, beauty therapies, or health-related courses.