Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

What are Atypical Lymphocytes?

Atypical lymphocytes are unusual structures of lymphocytes that are a part of the cell-mediated immune system of the body. These are either round, folded, indented or elliptic in shape. These atypical lymphocytes, also known as reactive lymphocytes (sometimes), are larger in size with a diameter of more than 30 microns. The large size of the atypical lymphocytes is attributed to antigen stimulation. There are a lot of factors that are responsible for atypical lymphocytes. Often, a viral or a protozoan infection in the body is associated with these atypical lymphocytes.

Lymphocytes play an important role in the immune response of the body. An atypical lymphocyte is non- malignant condition of the lymphocyte that is characterized by large abnormal structure of the lymphocytes. A number of stimuli are responsible for the development of atypical lymphocytes.

These atypical lymphocytes develop when there is a reaction between the lymphocytes and antigen found in the body. Antigens are the foreign proteins associated with pollen, fungi, virus or bacteria in the blood.

Though there are some people who are more susceptible to develop atypical lymphocytes, than others; person of any age can develop this condition. Children below the age of 2 years, do not have a well developed immune system and also adults with connective tissue diseases or a weakened immune system, may have an increased chance of getting atypical lymphocytes. Individuals suffering from acute or chronic leukemia may also have an occurrence of atypical lymphocytes.

As mentioned above, there are numerous factors that are responsible for the development of atypical lymphocytes, it is very important to identify the causative factor. The treatment protocol for the management of atypical lymphocytes would depend primarily upon the underlying cause for the condition.

Causes of Atypical Lymphocytes

Infections:

Atypical lymphocytes, also known as reactive lymphocytes are associated with viral or bacterial infections. Bacterial infections such as Toxoplasmosis, Streptococcal infections and Syphylis, can stimulate the formation of atypical lymphocytes.

Diseases and Disorders:

There are several diseases and disorders that can cause atypical lymphocytes. Viral diseases like Cytomegalovirus, Hepatitis C and Epstein Barr Virus are some of the common causes for developing atypical lymphocytes.

This condition may also be because of some auto-immune disorders like Rheumatoid arthritis.

Immunization and Medications

Medications or drug reactions are often associated with Atypical lymphocyte. Apart from this, Immunization is also considered to cause the formation of atypical lymphocytes.

Hormonal Changes

Stress and hormonal changes are responsible for atypical lymphocytes. In patients suffering from the endocrinal disorders such as Addison’s disease, this condition can be commonly observed.

Radiations

Exposure to radiations is one more cause of developing atypical lymphocytes of reactive lymphocytes.

Diagnosis of Atypical Lymphocytes

In order to determine the presence of atypical lymphocytes, your doctor would perform standard blood tests. The lymphocyte count in the sample must be elevated. Once the increased count of lymphocytes is discovered, a peripheral blood smear would be performed. Here, a drop of blood is smeared on to a glass slide, then the sample is dried, stained with a dye and then dried again. In case of atypical lymphocyte, it will stain a darker blue than the regular lymphocytes.

How Are Atypical Lymphocytes Treated?

There is no specific treatment available for managing atypical lymphocytes. The treatment and management of the condition depend upon the underlying cause for the development of the condition. If underlying conditions are the cause for atypical lymphocytes, they must be treated.

Medications and Vitamin Supplements:

For common causes, like viral or bacterial invasions, antibiotics can help in reducing the cell counts to normal levels.

Prescription medications are highly effective and common treatments for atypical lymphocytes. However, they are only one part of the treatment plan. Biochemical drugs such as Calc Phos, Natrum Sulph, etc. are known to improve the immune status of an affected individual and reduce the susceptibility of a person to infections.

Vitamin supplements, especially, vitamin B and vitamin C, are also known to be beneficial. These vitamins can help the efforts of the immune system.

You can also add more of healthy foods to your diet as a part of the treatment plan.

Home Based Treatments for Atypical Lymphocytes

Below are some of the home based treatments for treating atypical lymphocytes. They have been found effective in managing viral and bacterial infections that are mostly responsible for atypical lymphocytes.

Citrus Fruits:

Increasing the intake of citrus fruits such as; lemon, oranges, lime, etc. can be helpful. These citrus fruits are loaded with Vitamin C concentration and thus contribute towards enhancing immunity.

Turmeric:

Turmeric is well known for its medicinal benefits. You can also use it for treating atypical lymphocytes at home. Just add a teaspoon of turmeric to a glass of low fat milk. Curcumin, present in turmeric has strong anti-microbial properties and milk, being loaded with vitamins and minerals, is essential for the production of normal lymphocytes.

Dietary Corrections:

You need to have some dietary corrections in order to manage atypical lymphocytes. In fact, dietary corrections may play a real important part in improving immunity. For this you need to increase the intake of lean meat and chicken, along with eggs, pulses and cereals. These foods, being rich in proteins, help in the normal production of lymphocytes.

Conclusion:

So, we now know about the causes and some of the treatments for atypical lymphocytes. You must also note that while following the treatments or home treatment, you also need to avoid the consumption of alcohol, as it can have a detrimental effect on the liver and can lead to altered production of lymphocytes.

Make sure you consult with an expert medical professional and talk about your condition well, so as to get yourself properly diagnosed and be treated well.

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: February 13, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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